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Editor, F. E. Mallott, Professor of Church History Bethany Biblical Seminary 
Assistant Editor, Elgin S. Moyer Contributing Editor, L. D. Rose 

Volume II JULY, 1940 Number One 


A Statement 3 

Alexander Mack, the Tunker, and Some of His 

Descendants 3 

Freeman Ankrum 

We Wait the Dawn of Peace 15 

John Michael Roller 

The Attitude of the Early Christians Toward War 1 6 

Elvert Miller 

Glimpses from Early Church Records 24 


A Question 29 

Trevor Wyatt Moore 

An Analysis of Some Democratic Procedures in 

THE Church of the Brethp 29 

Robert L. Sherfy 
Historical Society Notes j 71 

BETFJ ^t„ 

Book Review i v2 

F. E. Mallott 



Freeman Anknim, is pastor of the Brethren 
Church of Linwood, Md. He is a descendant of 
Alexander Mack of the seventh generation. His 
responsibilities and offices in his denomination have 
been numerous. The genealogical work of which 
the introductory chapter is here presented has long 
been his avocational pursuit. 

Robert Sherfy, is pastor of the Church of the 
Brethren of Kokomo, Ind., at the present time. 
Has served other pastorates. A graduate of Bridge- 
water College he received his B.D. from Bethany 
Biblical Seminary in 1940. 

Elvert Miller, a minister of the Church of the 
Brethren. A student at Bridgewater College and a 
graduate of George Washington University. A 
student of Bethany Biblical Seminary. 

Reuel B. Pritchett, pastor and elder of the French 
Broad Church of Tennessee. Eld. Pritchett carries 
numerous District responsibilities and is well known 
in the Annual Conference of the Church of the 
Brethren. Something of a traveler, he is a genuine 
antiquarian and an historical student with an espe- 
cial enthusiasm for the history of his church. 

Trevor Wyatt Moore, the most youthful contrib- 
utor to Schwarzenau to date. An aspiring writer. 
High School student, and the Wyatt is reminder of 
being the grandson of a minister of the Church. 
Resident, Chicago Heights, Illinois. 

John Roller, writes poetry frequently. A minister, 
who finds the printing trade congenial. Residence, 
Chicago, Illinois. Old graduates of Bethany Bib- 
lical Seminary remember him. 


This is in lieu of the conventional editoriaL It is a business state- 

One half the subscribers to the first volume of Schwarzenau have 
renewed and continue as subscribing members for the second volume. 

If there is a blue pencil check on this page YOU are one whose 
subscription has not been received. If you do not subscribe we shaU 
reckon this copy as a gift to you. 

But so many have said they intended to subscribe, and have not, we 
find ourselves in a dilemma. So revision of the list was delayed until 
after this mailing. If your subscription is not received immediately after 
receipt of this issue, your name will be stricken from the list of Sub- 
scribing Members. 

The numbers of copies printed in excess of the number of actual 
subscribers is small. So if you expect to keep your files unbroken or be 
sure of getting all numbers SUBSCRIBE NOW. This is the last calL 

A considerable sale of back numbers of Volume One has already 
occurred. If anyone is interested in volume one, we can state we 
have at this writing only seventeen complete sets that are available. 
They will be sold at regular subscription rate of one dollar ($1.00) 
per year while they last. 


Freeman Ankrum 

The article on Alexander Mack, is the first chapter of a book now in preparation by 
Rev. Freeman Ankrum, Linwood, Maryland, Pastor of the Linwood Brethren Church. 
He is a lineal descendant of Alexander Mack. His father and mother live at Gratiot, 
Ohio, and he descends from Alexander Mack on his mother's side, who was a Mack. 

The Author has been cradled and brought up in the traditions of the Macks and 
for fifteen years has been making a detailed research in view of presenting to the public 
"Alexander Mack, The Tunker and His Descendants". Rare manuscripts, old Bibles, 
photographs and old letters have been made available or are in possession of the Author. 
There are numerous descendants in all branches of the Brethren Church today who are 
true to the faith of the Founder. Much research has been done and is now nearing 
completion which will make this the largest collection of authentic material upon the 
life of Alexander Mack and his descendants, gathered in one volume. A prominent 



part has been taken by the family in the world and the church down to the present time. 
The living descendants are in the thousands, scattered thruout the United States. Family 
traditions passed down from generation to generation and not appearing in print before 
will be in this production. It is hoped to have it ready for the printer within the next 
eight or ten months. The Author was working in co-operation with the late Ex. Gover- 
nor Martin G. Brumbaugh of Pennsylvania and Rev. J. H. Moore of Sebring, Florida, 
at the times of their deaths. Credit will be given in the finished book for help received 
from numerous sources. It is desired to list all known descendants of Alexander Mack. 
Any not having been contacted who may read this are requested to immediately write 
the Author at Linwood, Maryland. 

*Time marches on, leaving fragments of memories that lose their 
details in the pathway of life. Much has been written regarding the 
founders of the Brethren church, in which all branches that have 
a common origin are meant. Older descendants of Alexander Mack 
are passing from the scene of life. The early pioneers of the church 
were too busy looking after the infant church, and incidentally mak- 
ing a living at the same time that the records were more or less 
fragmentary. Family traditions have been handed down, which the 
writer has been able in part to secure, and record for posterity. 

Alexander Mack the founder of the Church was born on August 
3, 1679 near Schwarzenau, Germany, in Schriesheim, in the elector- 
ate of Palatia, between Manheim and Heidelberg. He was a mem- 
ber of a very respectable and wealthy family. He is reported to 
have secured an education in one of the German universities. He 
was a Presbyterian and educated in the Calvinistic faith. While 
little is known of his immediate family, one brother was a General 
in the German Army. The man who followed the way of peace ap- 
parently is better known than the brother who assayed to follow 
the way of war. The young man learned the milling trade and assist- 
ed in the care of the numerous vineyards belonging to the family. 
Evidence would indicate that the young man was studious and thot- 
ful. Just thirty-one years before Alexander Mack was born, the war 
known as "The Thirty Years War" closed with the peace of West- 
phalia. This had had its effect upon the state Church and the popu- 
lace. Its frightfulness no doubt was much discussed in the ears of 
the young Alexander. There had been a general decimation of the 
German people. Ten million people perished in the general conflict. 
A church historian states, "The cruelties inflicted during the war 
upon the defenseless people are indescribable. The unarmed were 
treated with brutal ferocity. Great numbers perished by famine. 

* This material is not to be reproduced without permission of author. Copyright 


More frightful than famine were the immorality and the moral 
decay which ensued upon the long reign of violence." Thus the basis 
for the moral and religious decay of the times. 

The mind of the young man found companionship in the ideas of 
kindred minds. Those who so thot and felt were called because of 
their piousness, "Pietists". The young man engaged in his daily 
tasks while he no doubt performed them faithfully was dreaming 
and thinking of a day when the people might get back to the solid 
base of the New Testament. The coldness and the callousness of 
the religious minded people surrounding him caused him to become 
a dissenter from the faith in which he had been reared. He became 
a leader of like minded students who investigated the New Testa- 
ment, and the records and writings of the Christian Fathers. Upon 
reaching the age of twenty-one, Alexander Mack took for his wife 
a young lady from the same community and about the same age, 
by the name of Anna Margaretha Klingen. This young lady was 
born on April 20, 1680 and became the bride of the thotful and for- 
ward looking young man on November 4, 1700. To this union were 
born five children, three sons and two daughters. They were, John 
Valentine, Johannes, Alexander, Christina and Anna Maria. The 
two daughters died in Germany, the three sons later accompanying 
the father to America. 

Alexander Mack was anxious to ascertain the mind of the Lord 
as revealed in the scriptures, and to this source was his mind directed 
in searching for the old paths. In his reading he became convinced 
that immersion in water was the New Testament baptism, and a 
believer was the only proper subject for the ordinance, and that the 
doctrines and practices set forth in his "Plain View of the Rites and 
Ordinances of the House of God" are such as believers should re- 
ceive and obey. Accordingly he and his wife and six others in the 
year 1708 were immersed in the river Eder, and covenanted togeth- 
er to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 
The list of those baptized as given by Alexander Mack, Jr., is per- 
haps correct, while there seems to be some difference of opinion re- 
garding one or two who were that morning members of the newly 
organized church. The list given in addition to the founder and his 
wife are, Joanna Noethiger, or Bony, Andrew Bony, George Grebi, 
Lucas Vetter, John Kipping and Joanna Kipping. These eight mem- 
bers of the pioneer church were not a group of people who had been 


irreligious prior to the organization of the Taufers or Tunkers. All 
were members of a Protestant church before 1708. However they 
were not satisfied with the formalism and ritualism which oppressed 
their spirits. 

On the other hand they could not fully and unreservedly adopt 
the faith of the Pietists who had such a hatred for all church or- 
ganization that they had abandoned all the ordinances of the house 
of God. They on the one hand rejected the creed of man, and look- 
ed on the other hand with disfavor to the abandoning of the ordi- 
nances, turned to the Bible for guidance. They learned from God's 
Word that ordinances were essential and creed was not. Therefore 
adopting the Bible as their gui'de and rule, they organized a church 
without a creed, and with all the ordinances as taught by Jesus and 
His followers, as recorded in the New Testament. 

God protected this infant community altho there was much to be 
endured and sacrificed by the faithful. Alexander Mack had a large 
share of persecution as his lot. Although he was rich, yet out of 
love for the brethren he became poor, like his Master before him. 
The heavy hand of persecution was often laid upon his brethren 
and they were locked up in prison. Only by paying the money against 
them in fines were they released. Unfortunately this releasement 
was only temporary. By paying the fines, his handsome patrimony, 
fine vineyards and profitable mill were taken from him. He with 
his brethren sought refuge in different places from persecution, but 
alas those places were not to be found. In 1713 Alexander Mack 
published his book entitled, "Rites and Ordinances of the House of 
God and the Ground Searching Questions". Prince Henry had 
tempered to some extent the persecutions heaped upon the shoulders 
of this harmless people. However in 1720 the tolerant policy of 
the Prince was discontinued. Some of the Brethren had sailed for 
America the year before under the leadership of Peter Becker. The 
remaining Brethren were obliged to flee with Mack to Westervain, 
West Friesland, Holland. Historians differ regarding the death of 
the wife of Alexander Mack. Martin Brumbaugh in his histor>' 
states that "she died August 11, 1758". There is also another 
record which is perhaps the correct one, that she died in 1720 after 
twenty years of married life in Germany. It is also stated that with- 
in one week after he was called upon to mourn the passing of his 
beloved companion, the oldest daughter, Christina followed her in 


death, bringing double grief in so short a time. Christina was aged 
six years at the time of her death. Called upon to mourn those of 
his household, as well as the great persecution now heaped upon 
him caused him to plan a means of escape from part at least. After 
nine years in Holland the Brethren decided to join the group which 
emigrated to America. 

From Rotterdam they departed as a congregation and after con- 
siderable time spent in passage landed in Philadelphia on September 
15, 1729. Great was the joy of the ones who had come to America 
with Peter Becker when the information was conveyed to them that 
the beloved founder of the church had made up his mind to cast his 
lot with them in the new country of freedom of worship. His three 
sons, Valentine, John and Alexander, Jr., accompanied the group 
to America. What a happy and glorious reunion when they went 
down the river to meet the oncoming boat with its precious cargo, 
that September day. Alexander Mack came to America a poor man 
in this world's goods, but rich in faith. Some two years after the 
party's arrival in America, the people of Germantown in their ap- 
preciation for what he had done for them erected a modest log 
cabin for the use of the beloved founder of the church. It was the 
love gift of friends who realized and appreciated the worth of their 
leader. Today the present church at Germantown stands just back 
of the lot where stood the house where Mack spent his last years. 
Johannes Mack, one of the sons inherited the house after his fa- 
ther's death and used it to further his trade as a stocking weaver. 
Later on it became known as the "Old Weaver House." Here in 
this humble cottage upon half an acre of ground in Van Bebber 
township, Alexander Mack passed from the seen world to the un- 
seen world on January 31, 1735. Perhaps the hardships, the losses 
and the sacrifices made in behalf of his God and his Brethren has- 
tened his departure. Fortunately tho, his last days were spent free 
from the shadow of constant persecution. Thus just six years after 
the founder of the church came to America, he closed his labors on 
earth. He was buried in the Upper burying ground of Germantown, 
sometimes known as Axe's burying ground, and the following brief 
inscription, in the German language marks the place: "Here rest 
the remains of A. M., born 1679, and died 1735, aged 56 years." 
At this place the body remained until November 13, 1894, when it 
was removed to the cemetery at the Church of the Brethren at Ger- 


mantown, Pa., where it now rests. Rev. G. N. Falkenstein with the 
assistance of others, had it removed from the now deserted Upper 
Burying Ground to its present resting place. The place is marked 
by a marble slab bearing the following inscription: "Alexander 
Mack, Sr., the first minister and organizer of the Church of the 
Brethren in the year 1708. Born at Schriesheim, Germany, 1679. 
Came to Germantown 1729. Removed from Axe's Burying Ground 

When the spade had made its descent to where rested all that was 
mortal of the founder of the church, the body had indeed gone back 
to the dust of the earth from which it had come. So the dust which 
at one time had pulsated with life, thot and love was tenderly trans- 
ferred to the spot where it shall await the awakening and the assem- 
bling at the first Trumpet sound of the awakening Angel. An old 
funeral record gives us the very picturesque description of the last 
rites of this honored man. 

"Let us now lift the veil of the past for a few moments and pic- 
ture to ourselves and the generations of the future the scenes enact- 
ed at the burial of this venerable patriarch and warrior in Christ. 

No sooner had the soul taken its flight upon that bleak winter 
night, than the Einlader or Anzeiger (notifier) was sent out to- 
wards Germantown, Ephrata, Coventry, Oley and the Swamp. 
Wherever there were Brethren they went from house to house, ad- 
vising them of the death of the patriarch and inviting them to the 
funeral. This was a peculiar custom in vogue among the Germans 
and existed down to the early years of the present century. 

Other brethren again took charge of the obsequies. The schreiner 
(cabinet-maker) was sent to measure for the coffin. This was a 
shaped wooded box made of unpainted cherry wood, as it was be- 
lieved that the grave worm could easiest penetrate this wood, and 
thus believed that the body would be devoured most quickly. In 
making the coffin great care was taken that no shaving escaped. 
These, as well as all particles of saw dust wer^ carefully gathered 
up and placed in the bottom of the coffin, and then covered with a 
linen cloth, upon which the body was placed. The reason for this 
great care was the belief that, if any particle escaped, whatever 
house it blew into the next death would occur therein in the near 
future. Then, when the coffin was carried into the house of mourn- 
ing, it was always brought in head first, or else another funeral 


would soon follow. Care was also taken to have the foot always 
towards the door and the lid hidden from view behind the outer 

There were two peculiarities about this coffin. Owing to the 
prominence of the deceased, eight metal handles were procured, a 
species of extravagance rarely indulged in by the Germans of that 
early day. The other was that the lid was a peaked one, giving the 
body ample room. The ordinary coffin of that day had a flat lid, 
and was commonly known as a nasenquetcher, from the fact that it 
often flattened the nose of the deceased. 

Great indeed was the company that assembled on the day of the 
funeral; the humble cabin in Bettelhausen, wherein reposed the 
mortal remains of the patriarch, was much too small for the multi- 
tude who had journeyed from all quarters over the snow capped 
hills to bear tribute to the character and pure life of the founder of 
the German Baptist Brethren in America. A man who was once in 
affluence, while in the Fatherland gave up his all for the cause, came 
to the wilds of America for conscience' sake, and here ended his days 
in a cabin built for him with contributions of the charitable. 

Upon this occasion were gathered the Brethren from German- 
town; prominent among them were, Peter Becker, Christopher 
Sauer, Heinrich Kalkglaser, Heinrich Pastorious and others old 
and young. Then came the sohtary from the Cocalico, who, led by 
Beissel, Wohlfarth and the EckerUng brothers, all in their pictur- 
esque Pilgrim garb, had walked the whole distance from Lancaster 
over the frozen ground in silence and Indian file. There were Breth- 
ren from Coventry and Chester County with Martin Urner, who 
had but a short time before been consecrated by the deceased as his 
successor and bishop of the denomination in Pennsylvania. There 
was also a deputation of the Sabbatarian Brethren from the French 
creek. Lastly, there came from the ridge of the heights of the Wis- 
sahickon those of the Pietists of the Kelpius Community who still 
lived there as hermits. Among these recluses were Conrad Matthai,. 
Johann Gottfried Selig, Daniel Geisler, Christopher Witt, Andreas. 
Bony and others; all to perform the last homage to the reHgious 
leader who now reposed cold and inanimate in the lowly cabin by 
the roadside. . 

The obsequies commenced, as was then the custom, about noon 
with a funeral feast, of which gammon, cakes, cheese and punch were 


important features. This was followed by religious services, lasting 
until the sun had set, and when darkness had fairly set in a cortege 
was formed. First came flambeau-bearers; then the carriers, four 
of whom bore the coffin upon their shoulders; then followed the 
Wissahickon Brothers, chanting the De Profundus alternately with 
the Ephrata contingent, who sang a hymn especially composed for 
the occasion. The rear was brot up by the relatives, friends and 
Germantown Brethren. 

It was an impressive and weird sight as the cortege, with its bur- 
den and flickering torches, filed with slow and solemn step down the 
old North Wales road. A walk of about a quarter of a mile brought 
them to a graveyard. It was merely a small field, half an acre in 
extent, which was divided from the road by a low stone wall and 
partly fenced off from the other fields by a rail fence. This ground 
was known as Der Obere gemein Kirchoff (the upper common bury- 
ing ground), and was free to all residents who had contributed to- 
wards the wall and fence, or such respectable white residents as paid 
a certain sum for opening the grave. The ground belonged to no 
particular congregation, nor was it consecrated ground in the usual 
sense of the word. When the procession arrived at the grave, the 
sight was an inspiring one, worthy of the artist's brush ; — the hermits 
and brethren in their peculiar garb, with uncovered heads and long 
flowing beards, chanting their requiem; the snow covered ground; 
the flickering torches; the coffin upon its rude bier; the black, yawn- 
ing grave, and the star lit canopy above. As the mourners surround- 
ed the grave another dirge was sung while the body was lowered 
into its resting place. Three clods were then thrown into the grave, 
a hollow sound reverberating in the night air as they struck the 
coffin. The ceremony was typical of the return of the body to dust, 
whence it came. A number of Brethren then seized spades and filled 
in the grave. When it was about half filled the torches were ex- 
tinguished and thrown into the tomb and the filling proceeded with. 
After this the company dispersed, and the body of Alexander Mack, 
founder of the Dunker denomination in America, was left to repose 
in its narrow cell until after the lapse of a century and a half, when 
the remaining dust was tenderly removed to consecrated ground in 
the rear of the church of which he was the patriarch. Well may it 
be said that he now rests with his own people. 


There is pointed out in Germany today an old mill in which 
Alexander Mack is supposed to have worked in 1710. One of the 
prized possessions of Bridgewater College, of Bridgewater, Vir- 
ginia, is one of Alexander Mack's Bibles. There are notes on the 
margin evidently made by the hand of the founder of the church. 
This book is well preserved and is kept in a glass covered box and 
in a fire proof safe. He left this Bible to Alexander, Jr., who at his 
death in 1803 left it to the Germantown Congregation. This Con- 
gregation left it to Elder Philip Rothenberger, who left it to Elder 
Henry Kurtz in 1841. Elder Kurtz left it to his family at his death 
in 1874. Elder Jacob H. Kurtz came into possession of it and let 
Dr. John S. Flory have it for Bridgewater College in 191 1. 

If we may retrace our steps, there is no doubt that various causes 
led to the untimely demise of the founder of the church. To see 
staunch friends led away by those ideas that were entirely foreign 
to the former understanding of God's word, were discouraging. 
There was a sad state of affairs when Alexander Mack came to 
America. The Germantown and Coventry Brethren were faithfully 
following the true practices of the church. In the Conestoga country 
Conrad Beissel and his followers had withdrawn, rebaptized them- 
selves, formed a new community, observed Saturday as the Sabbath, 
and began to proselyte in the faithful congregations. Concerning 
the reception given to Alexander Mack, Peter Miller writes, "This 
reverend man would have well deserved to be received with arms 
of love by all the pious in common after all that he had suffered in 
Germany, especially from his own people;" but Mack was a firm 
believer in the doctrines of the church and could not countenance 
innovations. He learned at Germantown of the strange conditions 
in the Conestoga country and his heart was saddened. He prayer- 
fully resolved to visit his own people and to suspend fellowship, as 
the Germantown congregation had previously done, with the fol- 
lowers of Beissel. 

In October of 1730 Alexander Mack visited the members at Falk- 
ner's swamp, accompanied by several of the Brethren. Beissel, it 
seems came to the same place at the same time and conducted serv- 
ices in the house of John Senseman. To this meeting Alexander 
Mack went, evidently for the purpose of opening a way for recon- 
ciliation. Mack made an address to the people in which he piously 


exclaimed, "The peace of the Lord be with you." To which Beissel 
replied, "We have the same peace." Mack proposed that both 
parties should betake themselves to prayer to ascertain which of 
them was guilty of the separation. Then Mack and his followers 
fell upon their knees and he offered up a fervent prayer. At the 
conclusion of the prayer Mack enquired the reason for the separa- 
tion. To which Beissel replied, censuring the Brethren for coming 
to the meeting, and refusing to consider their differences. 

At another time a visit was made to Ephrata in the hope of a 
reconciliation. But Beissel hid himself away and the meeting did 
not occur. It will be seen from this that the influence of Bishop Mack 
was exerted for a reconciliation on the ground of a confession and 
a return to the faith and practices of the church. Beissel would not 
accept the proffered terms. He later did offer to drop all differences, 
and to fellowship with the Brethren; but this could not be done for 
the reason that no confession of wrong was proposed, and hence 
union was impossible. Surely this hastened the end of him who had 
given his all for his Lord, his Church and his Brethren. Evidently 
Beissel did not hold anything personal against the patriarch who 
had appealed to him to forget their differences and worship together 
as of yore, as he attended the funeral and took part in the obse- 
quies. In his life, Alexander Mack exemplified the doctrines his 
followers love, founded a church that has steadily grown to splendid 
proportions, and won the admiration and respect of numerous per- 
sons throughout the civilized world. In his death, he drew his sor- 
rowing followers still closer to him and bequeathed to his people a 
rich legacy of truth. On the anniversary of his death let his Brethren 
recount his services, retell the story of his life, and rededicate them- 
selves to the cause for which he lived, sacrificed and died. He was 
no one who preached to others, forgetting his own household. We 
may infer that he was indeed a Christian father, from the circum- 
stances that all his sons became pious, and were united to the church 
before they had completed their seventeenth year. What may seem 
somewhat remarkable, they all made public confession of religion 
in the seventeenth year of their age. Thus while we venerate his 
character, it is certain that he wished to be effaced, and that we 
should honor the Christ and the church which he established. The 
founder was no doubt willing to be in the background of the system 


of faith and practice which he estabhshed. The years that have 
come down since his life and death have only added to the testimony 
of posterity to the staunchness of his character and the soundness of 
his principles. Each generation of his descendants has within its 
numerous ranks those who so fervently stand for the faith, tTiat 
they also are worthy of the name and lineage of the worthy founder 
and ancestor of the church. For over two hundred years since his 
passing, have his descendants, both lineal and spiritual, followed in 
the steps pointed out to them by the young man willing to be led of 
the Lord Jesus Christ. At the time of his baptism in the river Eder 
in Germany he was only twenty-nine years of age. One may be per- 
mitted the thought that another young man approximately the same 
age went down into the waters of the Jordan, and emerged to re- 
ceive the blessing of the Father. His spiritual lineage has also stood 
staunch through the centuries. 

In concluding this chapter we may say that the great work of 
Alexander Mack was accomplished in Germany but six years in 
America was long enough to impress his character on the life of the 
mother church. We shall grow in appreciation of Peter Becker, the 
first elder in America, as we grow in knowledge of the results of his 
faithful devotion to the church in the hour of great crisis. Elder 
Christopher Sauer, the heroic sufferer for peace and for conscience' 
sake, will ever remain as an enduring monument to the cruel Inhu- 
manity of war and the astonishing injustice of our government in the 
confiscation of his property. In the lives of these great and good 
men, there was a striking self-forgetfulness which would always ex- 
alt the cause of Christ and magnify His interests. The fullest em- 
bodiment of this spirit was in Alexander Mack himself, and per- 
haps it found its highest expression in the closing incident of his life, 
when, as he was also to close his earthly career, he looked forward 
to the time when his work should fall into other hands. He called his 
sons to his bedside, and said to them, "Now when I am gone, don't 
mark my resting-place, or they might sometime want to erect a 
monument over my grave." In filial respect as dutiful sons, they 
protested against the Idea that their honored father should sleep in 
a nameless grave. He listened to their appeal, and consented that 
they might place his initials on his gravestone. But the mere initials, 
"A. M." were meaningless to the passerby, and in generations to 


come even his own descendants lost the grave, and so, for one hun- 
dred and fifty-nine years, Alexander Mack slept in a nameless grave. 
Let us honor not only Alexander Mack, but also the memory of 
those other men of God, by a faithful devotion of our lives to the 
cause for which they so nobly stood. They were sturdy men of 
energy; men of convictions, men of determination to sustain and 
defend their convictions; devout men, God-fearing, trustful; men of 
faith, confident in Him whom they believed, Jesus the Christ. 

Alexander Mack was a firm believer in the doctrines of the church 
and would not countenance innovations. However he was a very 
meek and humble man. His humbleness and meekness did not con- 
ceal his great wisdom and understanding of his fellow men. While 
he never antagonized any one, he held always firm to the faith he 
loved. He was not easily convinced in regard to any new doctrine, 
and looked with suspicion upon any new movements, and men at 
variance with the plain teachings of the Bible. On one occasion it 
is said that a preacher of unusual eloquence was canvassing the 
country holding meetings among the Brethren, although he was not 
a member of the Brethren Church. Finally this man came to the 
Germantown community. Here he drew a large audience, including 
many of Bishop Mack's members. They gave such glowing accounts 
of the eloquent divine that Mack finally consented to hear him. At 
the close of the meeting Mack on being asked what he thought, an- 
swered, "Oh, he might do very well for an army chaplain but not 
at all for a minister to a peace-loving people. I advise you not even 
to hear him." Some two weeks after this in Philadelphia a regiment, 
about to leave for a distant point, wanted a chaplain. The man 
whom Mack had characterized as suited for such work strangely 
enough went to the city, applied for the place and was accepted, and 
went along with the regiment. Thus was Mack's prediction fulfilled 
to the very letter. The founder of the Church, enabled by wisdom 
and divine guidance to lay the foundation, has been proved by 
the centuries as being sound in every way. Time has put the 
stamp of approval upon his work. The only foundation was the 
old Book in all its simplicity. When his followers down through the 
years have followed closely in his footsteps, they have made progress 
and prospered as a people. When they have departed, innovations 
and difficulties have invariably followed. Divisions have arisen, 


many times upon not what the book said, but what some man thought 
it said, or some man thought it should have said. 


Sad tidings came from o'er the seas 
That he who wrote the poem "Trees", 

Did yield his Hfe of priceless store 
Upon a battlefield of gore. 

A youth that saw the touch of God, 
In tree, and flower and lowly sod. 

A mind which formed in beauty rare 
The thoughts that it was found to share. 

But with the passing of the years, 
Again grave voices stir our fears; 

They are the calls to youthful life 
To march once more to hellish strife. 

Again shall crosses mark the place 
Where falls the flower of our race. 

The hatreds of our earth increase; 
Too long we wait the dawn of peace. 

— John Michael Roller. 

Commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the 
death of Joyce Kilmer, killed in France, 1918. 


Elvert Miller 

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Thus 
spake a "strange" young man almost two millenniums ago, and for 
just about this same length of time pragmatic man has wondered if 
"strange" is an adjective strong enough to describe this man. Today 
especially, we who are Christians are faced with the problem — can 
non-violence, which is the essence of Christ's teachings, meet the 
aggressive forces which seem to be threatening all we hold good 
and honorable in our present stage of civilization? The answer 
must come upon a background of grim reality: Ethiopia ground into 
subjection; Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland smashed, subdued, 
exploited and pulverized in an iron hand; brothers killing brothers 
in Spain; China raped, starved, bombed, and mowed with machine 
guns; and people in subject nations of older empires striving to find 
their just place under the sun. Are the teachings of a visionary 
Nazarene carpenter applicable to such a war-torn society? It is 
certain that "among the many problems of Christian ethics, the 
most urgent and challenging at the present day is undoubtedly that 
of the Christian attitude to war. Christian thought in the past has 
frequently occupied itself with this problem; but there has never 
been a time when the weight of it pressed more heavily upon the 
minds of Christian people than it does today."^ 

There are and always have been a few who have faith that the 
teachings of Jesus are not idle dreams. It is the purpose of this 
paper to tell of the earliest acceptance of non-violence as a way of 
life. I wish to describe how the Christians of the first three centuries, 
living under the rule of imperial Rome, expressed in writing and in 
actual living their belief that in truth "The meek shall inherit the 
earth". It is quite possible that we in the United States, who In the 
near future may be facing a military machine, may find inspiration 
and courage In the story of these followers of Christ who scorned 
the armed might of Rome and sang hymns of praise as the flames 
seemingly proved that the sword ruleth over all. 

Cadoux, C. J., The Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 3. 




Before studying the early Christians let us briefly glance at the 
teachings of Jesus which best show His attitude toward violence. 
Strange as it may seem, Jesus, as far as we know, never directly 
condemned the legions of Rome. "For the teachings of Christ In 
regard to war and the overcoming of evil the chief authorities are 
the several elements which are contained in the synoptic Gospels, 
the relevant passages in St. Paul's Epistles and such evidence as 
can be found elsewhere In the New Testament. His teaching has 
been too frequently sought only In isolated sayings divorced from 
their setting and interpreted as legislative enactments. But for 
Christians who believe that His Intention was never legislation, that 
His character Is a consistent whole, and that His authority depends 
upon the quality of His person and the spirit of His actions rather 
than upon isolated and edited utterance. It is more important to 
consider the significance of His crucifixion than to debate particular 
points, such as the alleged use of the whip in the Temple-market. 

"However, in considering the general meaning of Christ the fol- 
lowing points are surely Indisputable : ( 1 ) He regarded God as al- 
ways and everywhere the Father whose dealings with His creatures 
are motivated only by love : to assert that God uses alternative 
methods — love and justice — and that love Is not always applicable 
Is to deny that God is what Jesus taught or that He Is In any real 
sense God. (2) In consequence, men are persons, not pawns or 
slaves, and their freedom to reject must never be overborne by force 
whether of violence or of bribery or of the supernatural. (3) In 
presenting His call to His people He refused to admit either by 
resistance or by flight that the last word lay with armed force : In- 
deed, by accepting the Cross He challenged this common assump- 
tion and disproved it. Nonresistance, seeming at first to fail, actu- 
ally and signally triumphed. His crucifixion transformed His dis- 
ciples and changed the course of history. The new way of life thus 
Initiated was accepted and proclaimed by the earliest disciples. 
Love, joy, peace, fortitude were acknowledged as the fruit of Christ's 
spirit, martyrdom was the Christian answer to militarism : warfare 
was with the powers of evil — of the spirit not of the flesh."^ 

2. Huxley, Aldous, An Encyclopedia of Pacifism, p. 16. 



The early Christians were so blessed by their memory of the 
actual Christ and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that "no Chris- 
tian ever thought of enlisting in the army after his conversion until 
the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A. D.) at the earliest, 
while cases of men being converted when already engaged in the 
military profession were during the same period few and far be- 
tween."^ "Some indulgence might perhaps be granted to those per- 
sons who, before their conversion, were already engaged in such 
violent and sanguinary occupations, but it was impossible that the 
Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume 
the character of soldiers, of magistrates, or of princes."* 

Christian literature during the first two centuries is filled with 
condemnation of strife and dissension, war and slaughter. "The 
majority of the early church Fathers, if they refer to the subject, 
condemn war absolutely as inconsistent with Christianity. Such is 
the opinion of Justin Martyr, TertuUian, Irenaeus, Origen, Cyprian, 
Athanasius, and Lactantius. 'It is not lawful', says Lactantius, 'for 
a just man to engage in warfare, since his warfare is justice itself'."^ 
"TertuUian asks, 'can it be lawful to handle the sword, when the 
Lord Himself has declared that he who uses the sword shall perish 
by it' — 'the Lord by His disarming of Peter disarmed every soldier 
from that time forward.' Origen calls Christians the children of 
peace, who, for the sake of Jesus, never take up the sword against 
any nation, who fight for thir monarch by praying for him, but who 
take no part in wars, even though he urge them."® 

"Harnack enumerates the following ethical barriers in the way 
of Christians who contemplated service in the army: 

1. The shedding of blood on the battlefield. 

2. The use of torture in the law courts. 

3. The passing of death sentences by officers, and the execution 

of them by common soldiers. 

4. The unconditional military oath. 

5. The all-pervading worship of the emperor. 

6. The sacrifices in which all were expected to participate. 

3. Cadoux, op. cit., p. 17. 

4. Gibbon, Edward, The, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 
Vol. 2, p. 119. 

5. Inge. W. R., Christian Ethics and Modern Problems, p. 317. 

6. Westermarck, Edward, The Origin and Development of Moral Ideas, p. 346. 


7. The average behavior of soldiers in peacetime. 

8. Other idolatrous and offensive customs."^ 

The early church also adopted unto itself the prophecy of Isaiah 
and Micah concerning the abolition of war in the Messianic age. 
"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to 
the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob : and He 
will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of 
Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jeru- 
salem. And He shall judge among nations, and convict many peo- 
ples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their 
spears into pruning knives; nation shall not lift sword against na- 
tion, neither shall they learn war any more."* 

"This prophecy is quoted, in whole or in part, by a succession of 
Christian writers, who all urge that it is being fulfilled in the ex- 
tension of Christianity, the adherents of which are peace-loving 
people, who do not make war. Thus Justin Martyr quotes it in his 
Apology and goes on : 'And that this has happened, ye can be per- 
suaded. For from Jerusalem twelve men went out into the world, 
and these were unlearned, unable to speak; but by the power of God 
they told every race of men that they had been sent by Christ to 
teach all men the word of God. And we, who were formerly slayers 
of one another, not only do not make war upon our enemies but, 
for the sake of neither lying nor deceiving those who examine us, 
gladly die confessing Christ.' "^ 

The logical conclusion from the sentiments of these authors, from 
the fulfillment of the ploughshare prophecy in the birth and growth 
of the church, and from the duty of loving one's enemies seems to 
be the refusal to bear arms in order to implement these beliefs. It 
is probably true that a few Christians were in the army from the 
very beginnings of Christianity, but, as I have said before, we have 
no reliable evidence for the presence of Christians in any number 
in the Roman army before the reign of Marcus Aurelius. "The 
writings of Tertullian make it abundantly clear that in his time there 
were considerable numbers of Christians serving in the Roman 
army."" It is also true that the official church never adopted the 

7. Page, Kirby, Jesus or Christianity, p. 69, 

8. Isaiah II :3f , Micah IV :2f . 

9. Cadoux, op. cit., p. 61, 

10. Ibid., p, 106. 


position of complete opposition to war as stated by the early Fa- 
thers. The charge might also be brought that the writings of these 
Fathers do not express the actual thoughts and behavior of the 
average Christian, but are the expressions of a few who thought and 
acted far above the masses. However, the heathen philosopher 
Celsus ( 178 A. D.) in writing against the Christians argues that "if 
all did as the Christians, nothing could prevent the Emperor being 
left alone and deserted and earthly affairs getting into the hands of 
the lawless and savage barbarians, so that the glory neither of Chris- 
tianity nor of true wisdom would be left among men."^^ 

It seems obvious that the Christian masses are here charged with 
a refusal to serve in the Emperor's armies. If we turn to Origen's 
reply to Celsus we see this great thinker justifying the Christian at- 
titude of aloofness from all forms of violence in service of the state. 
Origen says, "On this supposition" (viz. that all did the same as 
himself and took no part in war or magistracy), "the Emperor will 
not be left alone or deserted, nor will the world's affairs fall into 
the hands of the most lawless and savage barbarians. For if, as 
Celsus says, all were to do the same as I do, clearly the barbarians 
also, coming to the world of God, will be most law-abiding and mild; 
and every religious worship will be abolished, and that alone of the 
Christians will hold sway; and indeed, one day it shall alone hold 
sway, the Word ever taking possession of more and more souls."^^ 

Thus we see that although the writings of the early church Fathers 
condemn war and violence Christian soldiers were not unknown. It 
is quite probable that for the first two centuries these men were in 
the military life before their conversion. TertuUian's 'De Idolotria' 
( 198-202 A. D.) is the earliest evidence we have for the enlistment 
in the army of soldiers who were already baptized. There were 
other ways also in which the early Christians accepted war. There 
seems to have been an ambiguence of attitude on the part of many 
Christians, and in attempting to account for this anomalous situa- 
tion the following facts should be kept in mind: 

1. Not many of the earliest Christians actually had to form a 
definite decision concerning their own personal attitude to- 
ward war because Jews and slaves were not enrolled in the 

11. /Wd.,p. 104. 

12. /&i<f., p. 131. 


Roman army and because voluntary enlistment usually pro- 
vided all the soldiers needed, 

2. The expectation of a speedy ending of the world was so 
vivid that many practical social questions were ignored. 

3. In the Roman Empire soldiers and police were one and the 
same, which made it impossible to condemn the profession 
of soldier without appearing to advocate anarchy. 

4. The early Christians accepted the Old Testament as the in- 
spired Word of God. Hence, if^they condemned all war it 
entailed a condemnation of the Israelite wars of conquest. 

5. The frequent use of military similes and metaphors must 
have had a subtle effect on their attitude toward war itself. 

6. The Christians hailed the destruction of Jerusalem by the 
Romans as God's revenge on the Jews for their crucifixion 
of Jesus. 

7. The appropriation of the Jewish idea of a military Messiah 
caused the opinion that all enemies of God would be destroy- 
ed by Christ at His second coming. 

8. Moral laxity within the church by the end of the second 
century caused a general tendency toward compromise with 
prevailing beliefs and practices. 

9. There is a possibility that the general acceptance of war 
by the church after the conversion of Constantine made it 
less likely that records of earlier opposition to war would 
be preserved.^^ 

"It is generally thought that with the accession of Constantine 
to power, the Church as a whole definitely gave up her anti-militarist 
leanings, abandoned all her scruples, finally adopted the imperial 
point of view, and treated the ethical problem involved as a closed 
question. Allowing for a little exaggeration, this is, broadly speak- 
ing, true. The sign of the cross of Jesus was now an imperial mili- 
tary emblem, bringing good fortune and victory. In 314 A. D. the 
Synod of Aries left military service perfectly free and open to Chris- 
tians. In 416 A. D. non-Christians were forbidden to serve in the 
army."^* Moreover, the writings of St. Augustine definitely settled 
the theoretical attitude of the church toward war. 

13. Page, Kirby, Jesus or Christianity. (Condensed from p. 70 f.) 

14. Cadoux, op. cit., p. 256 f. 


Augustine used the following arguments: 

1. The Lord did not direct the soldiers who were looking for 
salvation to throw away their sword, but advised them to be 
content with their wages. 

2. St. Peter baptized the centurion Cornelius without exhorting 
him to give up military life. 

3. St. Paul used a strong guard of soldiers. 

4. Only those who take the sword without the command or 
permission of any superior or lawful authority would perish 
by the sword. 

5. Just wars are those waged with a view to obtaining redress 
for wrongs, or to chastising the undue arrogance of another 

6. Though peace is our final good, though in the city of God 
there is peace in eternity, war may sometimes be necessary 
in this sinful world.^^ 

Quoting Augustine again, "It is impossible," he says, "for the 
government not to use force against murderers and robbers, and it 
is equally impossible for the state to acquiesce in an unprovoked 
attack. The real interests even of the aggressor compel us to resist 
him in the only possible manner. At the same time, an empire found- 
ed on injustice is only a band of robbers on a larger scale; and war 
should always be waged for the sake of peace. The uncompromising 
injunctions of the Gospels, he says, refer to inner states of the mind, 
which should always be directed to the good of others. "^^ After 
Augustine a bad conscience was perhaps the only thing which caused 
some of the clergy to doubt whether a soldier could be a good Chris- 


"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." For 
several centuries the followers of Christ professed in word and 
deed their sincere belief in this statement: "The early Christians 
took Jesus at His word, and understood His inculcations of gentle- 
ness and nonresistance in their literal sense. They closely identi- 
fied their religion with peace; they strongly condemned war for 

15. Westermarck, op. cit., p. 348. 

16. Inge, W. R., op. cit., p. 318. 


the bloodshed it involved. . . . While a general distrust of am- 
bition and a horror of contamination by idolatry entered largely 
into the Christian aversion to military service, the sense of the 
utter contradiction between the work of imprisoning, torturing, 
wounding, and killing, on the one hand, and the Master's teaching 
on the other, constituted an equally fatal and conclusive objection."^^ 

The passing of time dimmed the early reality of Christ, and the 
gradual blending of church and state "for the first time in the 
days of Constantine made the meek and peaceful Jesus become a 
God of battle, and the cross, the holy sign of Christian redemption, 
a banner of blood strife. It was a long way from the cross, at the 
foot of which Roman soldiers had once cast lots for the garments 
of the Jewish misleader of the people, to the cross which hovered 
at the head of the Roman legions as a military standard.^* 

We of today as we look back over the history of Christ's Church 
cannot but lament the fact that the early pacifism disappeared be- 
neath the feet of those Roman legions who followed the cross to 
victory. If this change had not occurred, what might that history 
have been : we don't know. 'Tis an idle dream. A dream which 
may yet come to pass if Christianity today determines that in the 
twentieth century as well as in the first century, Jesus' way stands 
in sharp contrast to the method of war, that the perversion of the 
cross has gone on long enough, and that the real message of that 
Nazarene carpenter was "Little children love one another". In 
that day the meek shall come into their own. 

17. Cadoux, op. cit., p. 245. 

18. Ibid., p. 2S9. 


F. E. Mallott 

No one living is more familiar with the past and present state 
of the Church of the Brethren in Tennessee than Eld. Reuel B. 
Pritchett of White Pine, Tennessee. From his extensive collection 
of early Church records we select the accompanying excerpts from 
original records of the historic Knob Creek Church. 

The records were not written in a book but appear to have been 
written on odd sheets of tablet paper. The plates are reproduced 
herewith in full with orthography and spelling. In estimating varia- 
tions of spelling, one must remember that English spelling was not 
always as standardized as we are accustomed to see. 

Plate 1. 

The Brethren of Knob Creek Church met in Church councill To 
hold an Election in order to advance one to the ministray September 
the 3th 1859 and the same fell upon Brother Henry Garst 

In presents of Brethr 
John Nead 
Henry Brubaker 
Garret Baily 
Washington Dove H. Garst 

11111 11111,11111,11111,11 

Plate 2. 

November the 5th 1859 
The Brethren of Knob Creek Church met in Church Councill and 
there in the fear of god advanced the following Brethren to the 
office of Deaconds Samuel Miller and Christian Bashore 

Done in presents of 
John Nead Elder 
John Lair 
Henry Garst 
M. M. Bowman 
D. B. Bowmam (sic) 





C, I r i -^ 

r-x: V (^., -?^ ^s^X^.r^ 

^^ - '^ y--^ ' -^^^^ ^ /"y<.., ^ ,.../,;. 

A record of the advancing to the eldership of Elder Henry Garst at Knob Creek 

Sept. 3, 1859 

An election for deacons Nov. 5, 1859 




A ... 

,-.. ,.^'v /^' ^' ..■/:^1'^-.Xy . 

/ ■ ,/,■•. 





Here is a copy of an election held at the old Knob Creek church Aug. 3, 1861 
wherein two deacons were elected and installed. 

A record of an election held at Knob Creek 1864 wherein Elder Joel Sherfey was 

elected as minister with Elders Joseph Bowman and Peter Bashor, close 

followers who were both later elected and installed into the ministry. 


Plate 3. 

Knob Creek August 3nd 1861 
The above namEd Church met in Church counsil and there in the 
presents of the undersigned Brethren approved [blot] the foiling 
brethren when placed to the officie of Decont Joseph Bowman 

David Solenberger 
In the presents of the 
Following Brethren 
John Nead Eld 
M, M, Bowman 
John Lair 
Henry Swadley 
Henry Garst 
Austin Hylton 

Plate 4. 

Knob Creek Washington Co. Tennessee August 6 1864 

The Brethren assembled at knob creek went into an election in the 

fear of the Lord to set apart a Brother to the ministry and the lot 

fell upon Br Joel Sherfy, 

JoelSherfy 11111,11111,11111,111 

Joseph Bowman 11111,11111,1 

Peter Bashor 11111,11111,1 

William Clark 11 

Frederick Sherfy 1 

Signed by the Elders and Brethren 
John Lair Elder 
Henry Garst Elder 
M. M., Bashor 
S. S. Sherfy 
Conrad Bashore 
Henry Swadley 

These four elections are devoutly recorded. But here comes one 
of the most interesting items. On the back of Plate 4 is found a 
church letter. It is not signed so it may have been a draft, copied 
out tentatively. 


Or was it the intention to give to Bro. Joel Sherfy and his wife, 
Elizabeth, a church letter on the back of the original minute of 
their election? If so, there is the very quaint circumstance that he 
would carry along not only the record of his election but the tabula- 
tion of the votes and the names of the "also rans." 

The church letter is obviously in the same hand as the minute. 
The fact that it is unsigned rather inclines one to believe it is a draft 
copied out by an uncertain clerk for approval or practice. 


Knob Creek August 6th 1864 Washington Co Tennessee 
We the Brethren of the Knob Creek send greeting to the Brethren 
wherever this may be presented inasmuch as our beloved Joel 
Sherfy and Elizabeth his wife are about to remove our country to 
yours we hereby inform you that they are members of the Dunkard 
church in full fellowship with the same 

There is a simplicity and a beauty about these ancient records. 
The language is Biblically flavored and shghtly archaic. One has 
passing thots of the academic attainments of these our fathers in 
religion. But there can be no doubt but that these were what a cer- 
tain old European record calls them, "the devout". 
With apologies to a well-known source we may say : 
Lives of devout men all remind us, 
We may make our lives sublime ; 
And departing leave behind us 
Foot-prints on the sands of time. 



I sit and ponder over life, 

The floods, the storms, the constant strife. 

Of man's behavior in this world; 

Of thoughts and fancies all unfurl'd. 

Of souls and minds that dwell in hell, 

And mankind's great false world that fell. 

Of sweating men that work and toil — 

Of men who slave and till the soil — 

Souls which harden ; fall away, 

Of eyes blind to the light of day. 

Of men who build, create, and mould — 

Of greedy men who search for gold. 

Of beauty salvaged from the vile — 

Of bodies cast upon the pile. 

Of men who seek the binding tie — 

Of men who search for truth and die. 

O Great Father, Eye All-seeing, 

What is the purpose of our being? 

— Trevor Wyatt Moore. 




Robert L. Sherfy 



The purpose of this thesis is ( 1 ) to discover the "Dunker" Dem- 
ocratic ideal; and (2) to analyze some characteristic "Dunker" pro- 
cedures, both historic and current, evaluating them in terms of this 

A study in this field is valid. The Dunkers of the nineteenth cen- 
tury seexn to have taken democracy or "brotherhood," as they would 
have called it, for granted as an ideal. In the rural communities 
where they had common tasks, a common mode of life and a person- 
al acquaintance with each other this was not so hard to incorporate 
in procedures. Since the turn of the twentieth century, however, 
Dunkers have been influenced by urbanization. In making adjust- 


merit to the complexity of modern life the possibility of loss of the 
essential democracy of the rural Dunker community is great. Dr. 
John S. Flory, a student of Dunker history for many years, recently 
expressed his desire to know whether the Church of the Brethren 
is losing its democratic ideal and practice. He implied also that 
many others are concerned but have nothing to help them clarify 
their thinking. The fact that "Brethren in Reality" was chosen as the 
special emphasis for the denomination this year would also seem to 
indicate that a study of the Dunker democratic ideal is timely. There 
needs to be an understanding of what that ideal is and what its 
fundamental principles and assumptions are. If that ideal is an es- 
sential part of the Dunker doctrine and way of life, it is important 
that adjustments in procedures and methods should be evaluated in 
terms of that ideal. 

This chapter deals with ( 1 ) the essential characteristics of democ- 
racy in genera], and (2), more specifically, the Dunker democratic 

By way of general definition, Webster's New International Dic- 
tionary says concerning democracy : 

The principle or system of government by the people. 

Belief in or practice of social equality ; disregard for social barriers, 
as of class ; absence of snobbery. 

Specifically, and commonly in modern use, a democracy is a repre- 
sentative government where there is equality of rights without hered- 
itary or arbitrary differences in rank or privilege. 

Representative democracy includes a system of representation and 
delegated authority periodically renewed ; supreme power is retained 
by the people. 

Bryce agrees with this when he says that democracy means that 
the will of the majority rules; it is the rule of the many.^ He speaks 
of "democratic" as implying a simple, friendly spirit without assump- 
tions of superiority. He gives it the flavor of a moral ideal when 
he says. 

Democracy is supposed to be the product and. guardian both of 
equality and of Liberty, being so consecrated by its relationship to 
both these precious possessions as to be almost above criticism.- " 

1. James Bryce, Modern Democracies, Vol. I, p. 20. 

2. Loc. cit. 


In giving a general definition of democracy from a political view- 
point Merriam says, 

Democracy is a form of political association in which the general 
control and direction of the political policy of the commonwealth is 
habitually determined by the bulk of the community in accordance 
with appropriate understandings and procedures providing for popular 
participation and consent.^ 

He adds to the idea of the "rule of the many" the significant idea 
of "procedures providing for popular participation and consent." 
He goes on to contrast democracy with other forms of association 
in which control and direction of the policy of the group are habit- 
ually determined by procedures providing for any form of minority 
control and direction.* 

The principal assumptions of democracy are important. In es- 
sence, this is the way Merriam lists them :^ 

1. The essential dignity of man, the importance of protecting 
and cultivating his personality on a fraternal rather than a differential 
principle, and the elimination of special privileges based upon undue 
emphasis on the human differentials. 

2. Confidence in a constant drive toward the perfectibility of 

3. The gains of commonwealths are essentially mass gains and 
should be diffused through the mass by whom they were created as 
rapidly as possible. An individual or a few do not make great con- 
tributions independently of the group, and, accordingly, the benefits 
are not reserved for a few but are intentionally diffused to all the 

4. It is desirable that the group have control, in the last analysis, 
over basic questions of policy and direction, with recognized pro- 
cedures for the formulation of such controls and their execution. 
This is essentially the same as consent of the governed. 

5. Confidence in the possibility of conscious social change ac- 
complished through the process of consent rather than by the meth- 
ods of violence. 

A good working definition of democracy and a list of its character- 
istics is given by M. L. Wilson, Under Secretary of Agriculture : 

3. Charles E. Merriam, The New Democracy and the New Despotism, p. 11, 

4. Loc. cit. 

5. Ipid., p. 11 ff. 



The society can remain consistently democratic in giving its indi- 
viduals maximum opportunity for development and self-expression 
on the one hand, and for co-operation and self-organization on the 
other. Democracy thus becomes broader than a system of govern- 
ment ; it becomes a way of life. 

Democracy as a way of life may be characterized as including: 

First, action based on the will of the majority after the people have 
had opportunity to inform themselves as to the real facts. 

Second, freedom of speech, etc. 

Third, stability, order, and avoidance of violence. . . . 
■ Fourth, promotion of a stable but ascending general welfare. . . . 

Fifth, belief that there are extraordinary possibilities in both man 
and nature which . . . can be made manifest only if the individualistic 
yet co-operative genius of democratic institutions is preserved. 

Sixth, joyous faith in a progressive future based on the intelligent 
and constructive efforts of all the people to serve the general welfare. 

Seventh, tolerance and humor which in recognizing the right of all 
men to be different, smiles understandingly at those who are so dif- 
ferent as t6 be funny.* 

The assumptions and characteristics of democracy indicate that 
democracy is as much a matter of spirit and ideal as it is a form of 
government. Mark Dawber says, "T)emocracy is first of all a way 
of life — it determines the form of government."^ Merriam adds 
these comments, following his statement of the assumptions of 
democracy, "The program of democracy follows from its prin- 
ciples"^ and "If the aim is democratic and the attitude is democratic, 
prevailingly, the outcome will be democratic."^ In the January, 
1940 issue of Fortune an editorial emphasizes the fact that the form 
of government does not determine democracy. A monarchy may 
be truly democratic in spirit and outcomes and a republican form of 
government may disregard the needs and wishes of the majority. 
This study is attempting to discover the spirit or ideal back of the 
form of government and its procedures in the Church of the Breth- 
ren. It is inaccurate to label a certain type of organization, govern- 
ment, or procedure as democratic without considering the method 
in which it is used or the attitude which motivates those people using 

The assumptions and characteristics of democracy, which have 
already been listed, form the objective standard by which the pro- 

6. M. L. Wilson, Democracy Has Roots, pp. 92 f f. 

7. Lecture at Bethany Biblical Seminary, February 2, 1940. 

8. Merriam, op. cit., p. 71. 

9. im., p. 75. 


cedures, as such, are analyzed for the relative democracy of their 
methods. A knowledge of the essential spirit or ideal of the Church 
of the Brethren is necessary to an analysis of its procedures as demo- 
cratic methods. 

An understanding of the fundamental elements common to both 
Christianity and democracy is essential in discovering the Dunker 
democratic ideal. The Church of the Brethren has not left record of 
having set out to be a democracy first of all. What democracy it in- 
corporated within its ideals and way of life was justified and taught 
on grounds of being Christian or "scriptural." It is necessary to con- 
sider how much or what kind of democracy the Christian scriptures 
and tradition teach. 

What, then, is the relation to democracy of the fundamental ideas 
of the Gospel? Four ideas are of special significance. 

The worth of the individual man is enhanced as a being to whom the 
Creator has given an immortal soul, and who is the object of His con- 
tinuing care. 

In that Creator's sight the souls of all His human creatures are of 
like worth. All alike need redemption and are to be redeemed. Tn 
Christ there is neither barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free.' 

Supremely valuable is the inner life of the soul in its relation to the 
Deity. 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.' 

It is the duty of all God's creatures to love one another, and form 
thereby a brotherhood of worshippers. 

The first of these ideas implies spiritual liberty, the obligation to 
obey God (who speaks directly to the believer's heart) rather than 
men. It is freedom of conscience. 

The second implies human equality, in respect not of intellectual or 
moral capacity but of ultimate worth in the eyes of the Creator, and it 
points to the equal 'right of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 

The third idea expressed in those precepts which bid the Christian 
to live, with a pure heart, in close communion with God, and the fourth 
which implies the creation of a Christian community, cannot but affect 
man's attitude to life in the world, and may influence it in one of two 
ways. Absorption in the inner life may tend to individualism, en- 
gendering a quietism or isolated mysticism. On the other hand, the 
idea of a Christian brotherhood of worship points to the value of the 
collective life and may dispose men to submission in matters of faith 
and a merging of their own wills in the will of the community.^" 

A basic teaching of Christianity is the essential worth of each in- 
dividual. This is essentially the same as one of the basic assumptions 
of democracy. 

10. Bryce, op. cit., p. 89. 


Democracy is a spirit, not a form of government. It is embedded 
in intangibles; it consists largely in assumptions, one man about an- 
other. . . . 

And in our civilization these assumptions are Christian assumptions. 

. . . The central doctrine of its political system (the U. S.) — the in- 
violability of the individual — is a doctrine inherited from nineteen 
hundred years of Christian insistence upon the immortality of the 

Vlastos mentions also the Christian motive of service to the group 
as inherent in true democracy. 

What connection has Christian faith with democracy? Onr Chris- 
tian tradition, and perhaps no other, asserts the essential dignity of 
every man. Every man has dignity as a free moral agent if he affirms 
in his own personal choice the covenant that makes the common life 
possible. . . . Justice affirms every man's right to be respected as a 
man, as an end in himself, never as a mere means to others' ends. 
Love affirms every man's destiny to find life for himself only as he 
gives his life in service to the whole community. Democracy has 
meaning only in so far as that kind of love forms its motive and that 
kind of justice its goal.^^ 

From Christian tradition and the New Testament teachings the 
Church of the Brethren got its ideal of the equality of all men spirit- 
ually. The strength of this influence of Christianity in democracy 
in general is indicated in these words from Bryce : 

If we regard the essential quality of Christianity . . . we shall 
find its influence to be operative in two respects chiefly. It implanted 
the conception of a spiritual freedom. . . . The sentence, "We 
must obey God rather than men," went echoing down the ages, 
strengthening the heart of many a man accused for his opinions. It 
created a sentiment of equality between men — all alike sinful beings, 
yet also all worth saving from the power of sin — which restrained 
the degrading idolatry of power. . . . The greatest king was a sinner 
no less than the humblest subject. . . . These ideas which from time 
to time broke through the crust of monarchical tradition in the Middle 
Ages, became potent factors among the Protestants in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries . . . }^ 

The Church of the Brethren, arising as it did early in the eight- 
eenth century, must have absorbed part of its idea for an emphasis 
upon man's spiritual freedom and his essential equality with all men 
from the Protestant movement with its democratic implications. 
Protestantism had declared principles which were essentially demo- 
cratic in its revolt against Rome two centuries before. It had grad- 

11. "The Church in America," editorial from Fortune, 1940. 

12. Vlastos, Christian Faith and Detnocra^y, p. 26. 

13. Bryce, Modern Democracies, p. 90. 


ually lost the actual practice of many expressions of Christian de- 
mocracy. For example, the Protestant state churches had adopted co- 
ercive methods. But the ideals which had burst into flame and had 
given hope to the masses were not entirely dead. The fact that the 
founders oT the Church of the Brethren declared as a basic principle 
that there should be no force or coercion in religion indicates a con- 
scious reaction to the undemocratic procedures of the institutionaliz- 
ed churches. It must be kept in mind that even this teaching with its 
apparent background of circumstance was founded upon New Testa- 
ment principles. 

The Dunker democratic ideal was clarified and intensified by the 
complete acceptance of the New Testament as a guide book. An ex- 
ample of a practice which seems to have been a direct outgrowth of 
the New Testament is the use of the word "Brethren." "The sect 
came to be known as 'Taufers' or 'Tunkers' because of their mode 
of baptism, but who at first called themselves simply 'Brethren.' "" 
The relationships which this word signified were accepted as the 
ideal by the group at Schwarzenau in 1708. Their goal was not the 
formation of a democracy as such. They were trying to be Christians 
according to the pattern that they read in the New Testament. It 
so happens that the "Brotherhood" of the New Testament is first 
rate democracy. The Dunker democratic ideal and its New Testa- 
ment background are both evidenced in these words published in 

The Brethren hold that in the church established by Christ, there 
are no differences born of human pride. All stand upon a level before 
God. All are servants and all are masters. In common with all other 
great principles of Christianity, this has received its corresponding or- 
dinance, illustrative and typical of the fact that humility and religion 
are inseparable. It is the ordinance of feetwashing, established by our 
Saviour, and observed as directed by Him, among the Brethren ... he 
typically washes his brother's bared feet, as an evidence that he is his 
servant, and the other his master. The relations are then reversed, and 
the servant becomes the master, and this rite is performed all over the 
congregation of the Brethren at love-feast occasions.-^^ 

There is no easier way of typifying the spirit of the Dunker dem- 
ocratic ideal than to recognize that the word "Brethren" has been 
the characteristic appellation and accepted form of address among 

14. John Lewis Gillin, The Bunkers, p. 62. 

15, "The Brethren or 'Dunkards'," Brethren's Family Almanac, compiled by D. L. 
Miller, p. 7. 


members of the group up to "the day before yesterday." Male mem- 
bers of the group were called "Brother" by their fellow members. 
It made no difference if one were an average lay member, a deacon 
or a preacher. Occasionally the term "elder" was used as a title 
rather than as a descriptive term or an office. This sometimes be- 
came an inconsistency with the ideal. Female members were called 
"Sister." Urbanization has replaced the common "Brother and 
Sister" with "Dr. and Mrs.," "Mr. and Mrs.," or "Rev. and Mrs." 
as titles of respect more in keeping with modern life. This has hap- 
pened too recently for us to know definitely how much of a shift in 
the Dunker democratic ideal this may indicate. It is also recognized 
to be only one method of measurement of one expression of social 
relationships. In thinking of the Dunker democratic ideal the New 
Testament should be considered the chief basis and the relationship 
or attitude expressed by the word "Brother" as the typical manifesta- 

The form of government which this ideal has resulted in is describ- 
ed thus : 

What then is New Testament Church Polity? We answer, It is gen- 
eral — binding all congregations and individual members of Christ's 
body in one government. It may be called an Ecclesiastical De- 
mocracy, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 
It comprises a combination of forms : 

1. It is Democratic in the sense that the highest authority is vested 
in the membership. 

2. It is Republical in the sense that the church chooses representa- 
tives to execute her will. 

3. It is Congregational in local matters, but general on all ques- 
tions of doctrine and matters of a general character. 

The Church of the Brethren has taken this view of Church Polity 
because : 

The common people are the best conservators of truth. Left to them- 
selves they rarely get wrong and rarely become divided. 

There are two great causes of corruption in the church, viz., Money 
and Official power, and God has wisely set up that form of government 
which places the most eflfectual guard around them.^® 

Government is democratic in the extreme. The membership rules. 
The congregational activity is practically unlirnited. On questions of 
moment the congregation appeals for guidance to District Meeting, 
made up of delegates from the respective churches. The District Meet- 
ings, may, when the conditions seem to warrant, appeal to the Annual 
Meeting, the highest tribunal of the church. It is made up of two repre- 

16. I. D. Parker, '^Church Polity" in Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, 
pp. 161, 162, 


sentative bodies; the Standing Committee, composed of one or two 
delegates from each district, and chosen by the District Meeting; and 
the delegates chosen from each congregation. The decisions of this 
Meeting are final.^'^ 

The Dunker democratic ideal struck a fortunate balance between 
individual freedom and the importance of group welfare and govern- 
ment. In the very beginning at Schwarzenau the founders of the 
group had decided that the complete personal freedom to follow 
mystical leadings regardless of social implications was not good. 
Individual rights were therefore subordinated in part to the group 
judgment and welfare. The balance between "individualism" and 
"groupism" which the Dunker democratic ideal called for was an 
outgrowth of the fact that both elements are found in the New 
Testament. The emphasis placed on Matthew XVIII by the Breth- 
ren is an example. The Dunker democratic ideal has recognized the 
sacredness of the soul of each individual and his right to equality 
as a potential son of God. The same ideal has stressed the validity 
of the voice of the group when there is "plain Scripture" to back it. 
An example of this appears in Article I of the Minutes of the 1848 
Yearly (Annual) Meeting: 

Whether a private brother has a right to speak in public? Consider- 
ed, that inasmuch as there is a way appointed in the gospel to enter 
into the ministry, those who feel an inward desire or call to preach, 
(. . .) should wait patiently until (God by) the Church sees fit to ap- 
point them to the public ministry. See John's Gospel, 10:12. Heb. 

The welfare of the group is recognized as being of an importance 
equal to balance the importance of the right of the individual. The 
individual member has been expected to accept his obligation to 
work for the common welfare. According to the ideal, the peace 
and harmony of the "brotherhood" was important enough that each 
member on entering the church pledged himself to do all in his 
power to live in the harmony of the "brotherhood."^* 

One does not understand Dunker democracy until he understands 
that it is the product of "individualism" balanced by "groupism" 
with the ideal and pattern of New Testament brotherhood as the 
accepted standard. This is a fortunate ideal. The balance has saved 
many excesses. "Individualism when carried to its logical conclusion 

17. M. G. Brumbaugh, Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, p. 556. 

18. Otho Winger, History and Doctrines of the Church of the Brethren, p. 204. 


results in anarchy; groupism when carried to its logical conclusion 
results in syndicalism."^^ 

The history of the Christian movement has shown the unfortu- 
nate consequences of individualism causing men to regard the welfare 
of their own souls to the neglect of their social possibilities and 
duties. Sometimes this seems to have been the result of extreme 
•mysticism. History also records the spiritual tragedy of the gather- 
ing of individual worshippers into an organization which builds up 
a hierarchy sacrificing liberty to orthodoxy or to worldly power or 
to institutional success. This later tendency caused Voltaire to attack 
Christianity as "an aggressive and persecuting force, inimical to 
freedom."^" The Dunker democratic ideal avoids both extremes in 
its balancing of one value by the other. 


In order to understand the historic Dunker democratic ideal it is 
necessary to know its background, or the influences which have quali- 
fied or determined its essential nature. In the first place, the general 
background will be considered to discover influences not generally 
thought of as background for the Dunker democratic ideal. Much 
of this general background is common to such groups as the Men- 
nonites and Baptists. In the second place, factors which have con- 
tributed especially to the Dunker democratic ideal as unique will be 

A statement of the general background of the democracy of the 
Baptist Church is valuable because the influences mentioned are also 
a part of the general background of the Dunker democratic ideal. 

Democracy is the principle and spirit of the Baptists. Claiming to 
be a New Testament church they rely heavily upon the simplicity and 
freedom of the apostolic congregation, which goes back to the infor- 
mality of the synagogue, and in particular to the individualism of Jesus. 

In its beginnings the Baptist sect was a political as well as a spirit- 
ual protest — the one could not be carried out apart from the other. 
As Anabaptists, separatists, to stand up for their rights as free men 
and women they frequently had to resist governmental pressure and 
therefore be subjected to persecution, and in living up to their denomi- 

19. Wilson, Democracy Hcts Roots, p. 196. 

20. Bryce, Modern Democracies, p. 89. 


national principle in the modern world they have been characterized 
as narrow, peculiar and nonconforming. This all belongs to democracy.^ 

The reference which is made to the synagogue is valid. The early 
Christian brotherhoods of the New Testament and Christian tradi- 
tion were much like the synagogue in concepts of government. This 
was natural because Christianity was a child of Judaism. The de- 
mocracy of the synagogue rested back upon centuries of preparation 
in the development of Israel's concepts of man, God, and govern- 
ment. The ancient prophets had declared the rights of every man, 
even every common man. This was unusual, especially in compari- 
son to the next best concepts of democracy in those ages. Greek de- 
mocracy gave no place of dignity to the common man. When Ahab 
recognized the inalienable rights of Naboth, a commoner, it was 
part of the tradition developed by the Children of Israel; that would 
not have happened in the court of the king of any other nation, as 
Jezebel implied. Vlastos says^ that the Judaistic recognition of the 
dignity of the average man and his right to justice is an outgrowth 
of nomadic life with its close-knit community. There the insecurity 
prevented the accumulation of private property and therefore help- 
ed prevent class distinctions. Each individual had responsibility for 
performing a reasonable service on behalf of the whole community 
and it in turn recognized its responsibility for his rights. Merriam 
says^ that after the thirteenth century A. D. the Old Testament ver- 
sion of the popular establishment of the kingdom of Israel aided in 
directing attention to the democratic principle in setting up govern- 
ment. The Old Testament and the synagogue are part of the gener- 
al background of Dunker democracy. The influence comes both 
through the New Testament patterning after procedures and ideals 
of Judaism, and through the partial recognition of those ideals in 
civil life after the Protestant revolt. 

Glllln points out that the Dunkers were largely Influenced by the 
circumstances in which they lived. The circumstances and Influences 
affecting the Dunker democratic ideal before the movement left the 
continent of Europe are worth considering. Brumbaugh says of 
Abelard, Luther and Erasmus: "These men agreed in one essential 
principle — religion must he an appeal to the individual human tea- 

1. Bronk, "The Unfolding of the Democratic Principle in the Denomination," 
Minister, February, 1940. 

2. Vlastos, Christian Faith and Democracy, pp. 14 f f. 

3. Merriam, The New Democracy and the New Despotism, p. 51. 


son."* The wide influence that these men exerted on the thought of 
Europe is a part of the background of the democratic ideal that had 
its beginnings at Schwarzenau, Germany early in the eighteenth 

The Anabaptist movement is listed by Bryce^ as an early influential 
proclamation of democratic theories in modern countries. He men- 
tions the Independents of the English Civil War as having been 
partly influenced by Anabaptist notions. It is clear that Dunker 
democracy comes from this background also. 

The class favoritism of the institutionalized churches of that day 
had gone to an extreme which aggravated the type of democratic 
reaction which the Dunkers put into effect. 

The coercion in religion on the part of rulers of European states 
was what gave birth to the sectarian movement. Coerced classes were 
just then coming to a consciousness of their rights. The great oppres- 
sion and domination of our forefathers in Germany made them crave 

The breach between rulers and ruled, feudal lord and serf, pastor 
and flock was wide. The pastors of the three tolerated churches were 
generally looked upon as belonging to the upper classes.'^ 

Besides the continental influences which helped to shape the 
Dunker democratic ideal there were influences in colonial America 
which were effective during the years in which the Dunker ideal was 
being gradually clarified. "All classes in America felt this libera- 
tion from the restraint of long established institutions. Throughout 
the entire colonial period there was no church official of high rank in 
America."® The atmosphere of freedom, independence and democ- 
racy was part of the general background which the Dunkers had in 
common with other groups of that period. 

The prevailing type of religion in the democratic countries is one 
which lays a great deal of emphasis on freedom of the individual and 
relies for unity on fellowship rather than on authority and discipline." 

Evidently the Dunker democratic ideal was thoroughly in keep- 
ing with the background of circumstances and atmosphere of colonial 

4. Brumbaugh, Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, p. 19. 

5. Bryce, Modern Democracies, p. 85. 

6. Gillin, The Dunkers, p. 15. 

7. /&id., p. 34. 

8. William Warren Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, p. 4. 

9. Arthur E. Holt, This Nation Under God, p. 7. 


There are some factors which have contributed especially to the 
formation of the unique elements of the Dunker democratic ideal. 

The ideal in the minds of the leaders of the movement is im- 

There arose in his (Mack's) mind the ideal of a Christian society that 
was different from that of the orthodox church, on the one hand, and, 
on the other hand, from the ideal of the church as a mystical, unor- 
ganized fellowship based on the recognition of certain Pietistic teach- 
ings concerning conduct.^* 

The leaders were influenced enough by mysticism to declare the 
essentially democratic teaching of the "priesthood of believers," but 
their use of the New Testament as a guidebook was literal enough 
that the importance of the group and its organization as a "brother- 
hood" resulted in a unique balance between individual liberty and 
group welfare and authority. This was referred to in the first chap- 
ter. There have been many Dunker practices which originally had 
democratic significance because they were set up by the leaders in 
conscious contrast to the practice of the orthodox churches of 
Europe with their ecclesiastical hierarchy and disregard of the rights 
of the common man. Examples were the placing of ministers on the 
same floor level with the congregation at public meetings, the prej- 
udice against educated or salaried preachers, kneeling with their 
backs instead of their faces toward the preacher, a long level table 
instead of « high pulpit in front of the congregation. 

Another factor in the background of the Dunker democratic ideal 
was the strong democratic tendency in Pennsylvania. It was here 
that Dunkerism made its home when it came to America while it was 
still very young. 

This democratic tendency was strongest in Pennsylvania. Most im- 
portant of all was the attitude of the proprietor himself to his province. 
No other proprietor set out with such avowed democratic aims as did 

The Hberty granted to colonists was one factor in their coming 
to Pennsylvania but it was of equal significance in influencing their 
form of church government and the spirit of democracy in their 
midst. The Dunker democratic ideal was born in Germany but it 
was reared in Pennsylvania. 

Closely related to the fact that the Dunkers struck their roots 

10. Gillin, op. cit., p. 59. 

11. /6«i., pp. 90, 91. 


into the democratic soil of Pennsylvania is the rural cultural pattern 
of life which the Dunkers followed. Wilson calls it "the democratic 
old freehold pattern most characteristic of the North. "^- The old 
freehold farm was a family farm. It carried with it a crude and lusty 
culture, lacking in manners and polish. Life was shut-in; sometimes 
it was less candid and reasoning and tolerant. There was always 
the rugged love of liberty that comes with economic independence. 
All this is a part of the background of the Dunker democratic ideal 
and the procedures developed as its mediums of expression. 



"The local church is the basic unit in the entire church organiza- 
tion."^ The local church "council meeting" or business meeting is the 
characteristic historical procedure of local church government. 
Every local church seems to have used this method in its govern- 
ment. It was universally accepted as the Dunker method of handling 
local business. In actual practice the significance and procedures of 
council meeting have been modified to some extent. It is important 
to evaluate the historic type of council meeting first. 

To any one familiar with the Tunker church the prominence of the 
council meeting need not be discussed. What is usually done by of- 
ficers of other congregations — the whole business side of the church's 
activity — is done in the general church councils. These meetings, 
usually held monthly, in each congregation are not unlike the monthly 
meetings of the Friends or Quakers, and took their rise no doubt from 
the practice of the Friends. They are the most democratic meetings 
held by the church. Every member is not only welcome but urged to 
be present. Every member has unlimited privileges here to present all 
questions which may be regarded of value to the members. The whole 
negative administration of the church is here conducted and every 
member may discuss at length the rulings of the ofificers in charge 
as well as the business presented. . . .The council meeting is a blessed 
necessity. Its origin dates perhaps with the organization of the church. 
Business meetings were held as soon as the Germantown church was 
organized in 1723, and have been conducted ever since. In many of 
the early congregations these meetings were held at the close of public 
services on the Lord's Day. But Germantown, the mother church in 

12. O. E. Baker, Ralph Borsodi, M. L. Wilson, Agriculture in Modern Life, p. 221. 
1. Minister's Manual, "Church of the Brethren," p. 27. 


America, seems to have held her council meetings upon some Thurs- 
day of each month.^ 

It is evident that the attempt at government originally finding 
expression in the council meeting was about as pure democracy as 
could be imagined. The meetings were evidently held each month 
so that every item of business that might come up could come before 
the whole church. Boards are not mentioned, at least not the kind 
that took it upon themselves to decide anything without it having 
been brought up in council meeting. Every member was urged to be 
present at these council meetings because in a democracy every mem- 
ber is expected to assume his share of responsibility in the decisions 
of the group. It is also significant that the officer in charge of the 
meeting was not immune to the possibility of having his decision 
questioned by any member. The final authority of the officer rested 
in the approval of the group. 

Valuable insights into the historic council meetings are given in 
the Brethren's Family Almanac of 1902 : 

The council meetings of the church are among its most important 
meetings. Much of the spiritual character and tone of the church de- 
pends upon the manner in which these councils are held. They may 
be conducted in a way that they will be of interest to all, or nearly all, 
of the members ; or they may be so badly managed as to become very 
repulsive to the better class of members. . . . Some elders seem to know 
about as much about making a council meeting edifying as does a 
child about managing a locomotive. 

One Council Meeting. The officials met about two hours before 
the time set for the council meeting, in what is sometimes called private 
council, a name that is very uninviting indeed. In this official council 
all the matters that were to be discussed and settled by the church were 
gone over. . . . The members were somewhat warm for having had to 
wait one and one-half hours for meeting to begin. The meeting was 
opened, and an exhortation long enough for a funeral sermon was 
given by the ministers; after this the business was taken up. a battle 
of words began ; it grew on towards evening, the members began to 
disperse and go home, the elder made loud calls for order (!) and at- 
tention. At last with about one-half dozen members present the meet- 
ing closed at dusk ; the church had been badly crippled, and most of 
the members wished they might never hear of another councir meeting. 
, . . This is no exaggerated report. It is true to life in some churches; 
I have been at just such meetings. . .. 

Another Council Meeting. The officials met orifr-half hour before 
the. regular time for the council. In a few minutes all the items, of busi- 
ness were arranged in a list without discussion, for discussion belongs 

2. Brumbaugh, A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America, 
pp. S06ff. 


to the church. At the appointed hour the meeting was opened in an 
appropriate, brief and spiritual way. The business was disposed of 
quietly and in a friendly manner. . . . After a very impressive closing 
service, while all were present, the members returned home rejoicing 
because they had had a pleasant reunion.^ 

It is evident that the democratic ideal was sometimes thwarted 
as in the case of the first council reported. The whole atmosphere 
of this article is evidence that the accepted standard for a council 
meeting among Dunkers at the turn of the century was in harmony 
with the Dunker democratic ideal. Anyone familiar with Dunker 
history knows of cases where a domineering elder or a powerful and 
selfish clique or family prevented the spirit of Christian democracy 
from finding expression, even in the historic Dunker council meeting 
with all its procedures intended to promote the Dunker democratic 
ideal of equality among individuals and the authority of the group. 

Procedures followed in voting and elections held at council meet- 
ing are relevant to a study of democratic procedures. In the Minutes 
of Annual Meeting of 1853, Article 44, we find this concerning the 
method of choosing "teachers and deacons" : 

Considered, that a choice should be held by each and every member 
coming (one by one) before the elders, and giving their voice privately. 
The presence of two or at least one ordained elder from another church, 
has been deemed necessary always, so as to avoid the least appearance 
of partiality. 

This method of voting one by one privately before elders from 
another congregation was a practice intended to avoid all forms of 
coercion on the individual who was voting. This same method of 
voting was followed in many important matters. It should be noticed 
that the individual gave his own choice. It was not a matter of his 
approval or disapproval of a certain one suggested by the elders, nor 
was it a matter of his choice from nominations previously made by a 
committee or the elders. It would be hard to imagine a procedure 
with any more democratic implications than this. 

In connection with this it is interesting to note this in the Minutes 
of the Annual Meeting of 1862: 

Which is the most advisable in holding council meetings, to ask 

each individual member for his consent, or to take silence for consent? 

Ans. — In all weighty matters it is best for each member to answer. 

I. Bennett Trout, "Two Council Meetings" in Brethren's Family Almanac, 1902, 


According to the Dunker democratic ideal the social stability of 
the group was to be built upon cohesion instead of coercion. The 
spirit of brotherhood was intended to cause the group to be lenient 
toward minorities, especially if they seemed humble about it and 
there was no New Testament passage which could be interpreted as 
proving them to be in the wrong. An example of the practice fol- 
lowed in order to maintain unity was the custom accepted in most 
churches that a brother should not be forwarded from the ministry 
to the eldership if there were more than two objectors. 

There are democratic implications in the fact that an individual's 
right to membership in the group was a matter determined by the 
whole group rather than a single officer or group of officers. 

The privilege of membership is in the hands of the local body. It 
may discipline its members and its officers and even expel them alto- 
gether from membership, although in case of discipline or expulsion, 
the defendant may appeal either to District Meeting or to Annual 

The right of the individual is safeguarded against possible in- 
justice of his local group by his right to appeal. It is still a practice 
that any individual member of any local church may appeal to Stand- 
ing Committee of Annual Conference if he thinks his case has not 
been fairly handled by his church or district. This is an example of 
the way in which the right of the individual and the welfare and 
authority of the group are balanced in Dunker democratic procedure. 

In summarizing these local historic Dunker procedures it appears 
that their purpose was the carrying out of the Dunker Democratic 
ideal. Of course the form of procedures was often used in the wrong 
spirit so that democracy and brotherhood were thwarted. 

Modern versions of the historic Dunker procedures are different 
in many ways from those accepted as customary until the beginning 
of the twentieth century. In an attempt to ascertain the practices of 
"Dunker" churches today, students of Bethany Biblical Seminary 
were asked to fill out questionnaires.^ Seventy-one questionnaires 
were filled out. Those filling them out represent thirty-four of the 
forty-eight districts of the denomination. There were very few 
cases of two students filling out questionnaires concerning the same 
local church. It is assumed that these students were well acquainted 

4, Winger, History and Doctrines of the Church of the Brethren^ p. 203. 

5. See Appendix for complete questionnaire and summary of answers. 


with their home churches, being students in a school for the training 
of religious leadership. The results of these questionnaires should 
represent a fair sampling of the way contemporary Dunker youth 
feel about democracy in their home churches. Certainly, these youths 
were expressing personal opinions in their answers to some ques- 
tions, but in order to study a democracy one must know how the 
average member feels about procedures as well as know the statistics 
and form of organization. 

The council meeting is still a form of procedure. In answer to 
the question: "How often is regular council or business meeting 
held?" the answers in the questionnaires were: thirty-eight quarter- 
ly; twenty-two semi-annually; four annually; four monthly; one 
every two months. It appears from the questionnaires that much 
church business is handled outside of council, but no one intimated 
that council had been or would be done away with. The fact that 
twenty-two reported council only twice a year and four reported 
it only once a year seems to indicate that only certain kinds of busi- 
ness come before council. In the old days when council was held 
every month regularly it seems to have been the custom that every- 
thing was decided by the whole church in council. When council is 
held only twice a year, or even only quarterly, it is evident that many 
matters can not wait and would need to be decided between councils. 
In many of the questionnaires it was written in that boards decide 
many matters. 

The average attendance at present day council meetings is small 
in comparison to the membership of the churches. In the forty- 
seven rural churches reported on, the average membership is 264.9; 
the average council meeting attendance is 57.2. Twenty-two and five 
tenths per cent of the membership of these churches attend council. 
In the twenty-one city churches reported on, the average member- 
ship is 341.4; the average council meeting attendance is 76.6. Twen- 
ty-one and two tenths per cent of the city members attend council. 
From the viewpoint of democracy this is a low per cent of the mem- 
bers taking part in this procedure which presumably requires the 
voice of every member. It is interesting to note that there is more 
difference in per cent of members attending council between the 
large and small churches than between the city and rural churches. 
Reports came from twenty-one churches having a membership of 
over three hundred. In these churches 16.9 per cent attend council. 


In the forty-eight churches having membership of less than three 
hundred, 33.4 per cent attend council. In the large churches about 
one-sixth of the members attend council; in the small ones about 
one-third attend council. 

In answer to the question : "Are things sometimes 'cut and dried' 
to be 'railroaded' through council?" thirty-seven answered "YES" 
and twenty-five answered "NO". This would indicate that pro- 
cedures intended to safeguard democracy in the council meeting are 
frequently side-stepped in the local church. 

Sixty-one answered that elections of church officers were held at 
regular church council. This is within the historic tradition. Nine 
answered that elections were not held at council. The reason given 
by most of these for this, as well as the handling of other matters of 
business at other times than regular council or business meeting, was 
that so few of the members were present at council meeting. Dur- 
ing or after some regular Sunday service was the time given by 
twenty-five students in answer to the question, "When is such busi- 
ness handled?" Representatives of some of the larger churches 
said that council is poorly attended because many members live at 
some distance or for other reasons find it difficult to attend meet- 
ings at the church except on Sunday. For the sake of such people, 
this would seem to be a wholesome adaptation of the Dunker demo- 
cratic ideal. 

There seem to have been few officers to elect In the early days, 
with the exception of deacons, ministers and elders. When the whole 
church met to transact business each month, committees and boards 
were not needed as they are now, since council does not meet often 
enough or have time enough to take care of all the promotion ac- 
tivities of the modern church program. Election of officers is an im- 
portant part of church business now. The total number of positions 
to be filled on committees and boards in an average Dunker church 
is surprisingly large. With the rise of more or less complex church 
organizations has come nominating committees. Fifty questionnaires 
reported nominating committees in the local church. Fifteen report- 
ed none. Thirty-six questionnaires said that the nominating com- 
mittee made nominations for all officers elected by the church. Four- 
teen said that the committee did not nominate for all officers. From 
this It appears that the nominating committee plays a large part in 
guiding the selection of church officials. One student reports a feel- 


ing in his church that the nominating committee virtually dictates 
who shall be church officers. In this case the elder is said to have ad- 
vocated that the committee put someone who could not be elected 
on the ballot with the one preferred by the committee. The out- 
come is thus relatively certain. 

The questionnaires reported fifteen churches with a nominating 
committee of three members. Thirteen have five members. The oth- 
er eight reporting had more than five members. As a democratic 
procedure the nominating committee is a possible source of loss of 
the Dunker democratic ideal. It is easily misused. The smaller 
the committee the more undemocratic it is. In the average situation 
expediency seems to make a nominating committee almost necessary. 
It becomes increasingly demanded the more complex the church or- 
ganization is and the larger the church membership is. A nominat- 
ing committee need not defeat the Dunker democratic ideal if those 
on the committee consciously attempt to be democratic. An example 
of a nominating committee which appears to attempt to preserve the 
Dunker democratic ideal in its procedure was given in one of the 
questionnaires :^ 

The nomination committee puts out a blank several Sundays before 
the council meeting, upon which is space for each member to vote with 
the name of any of the membership. 

These blanks are consulted by the nomination committee and the 
highest used for the ballot at council meeting. 

Recent years have seen the multiplication of administrative boards 
and committees in the local church. Reactions shown in the ques- 
tionnaires to these boards are worth noting here : 

13. Do average members have a chance to know what the boards 
and committees of the church do and why? (Ans. : 52, YES ; 15, NO) 

14. Do boards and committees do things contrary to the known 
wishes of the majority of the members? (Ans.: 16, YES; 48, NO) 

15. Would an average member be justified in feeling that he was 
expected to support a program, which was,planned by a board, with- 
out his understanding why? (Ans.: 9, YES; 53, NO) 

16. Do committees plan for such things as revivals without consult- 
ing the church? (Ans. : 14, YES; 54, NO) 

17. Is your church an example of Christian Democracy? (Ans. : 34, 
YES; 20, NO) 

An analysis of local democratic procedure must include a study 

of the offices of local presiding elder and pastor. Since both elder 

and pastor come to their positions of leadership through first being 

6. Questionnaire number 29, in possession of the writer. 


elected to the ministry it is important to see the democratic implica- 
tions in the procedures of choosing ministers. Morgan Edwards 
writes this observation of early Dunker practice : 

Every brother is allowed to stand up in the congregation to speak 
in a way of exhortation and expounding, and when by that means they 
find a man eminent for knowledge and aptness to teach, they choose 
him to be a minister . . . giving the right hand of fellowship^ 

It appears that the procedure in choice of a minister was intend- 
ed to give any male member of the brotherhood a chance to become 
a minister. It was often the practice to call for an election of a minis- 
ter when the need for one arose. Names were not suggested. There 
was prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the election. This 
has the democratic implication that the Spirit of God can work 
through directing the voting of every member who is willing to be 
guided. Since there were no names suggested to the individual mem- 
bers when they went before the visiting elders to name the one of 
their number who was their choice for a minister, it appears that this 
procedure was completely democratic. It may not have been con- 
ducted in the right spirit many times, but the procedure itself was 
certainly in keeping with the Dunker democratic ideal. 

The fact that ministers were chosen from among their own num- 
ber has democratic implications in avoiding the development of a 
professionalized clergy class. Although Brother A was chosen to 
be a minister he was still one of their farmer neighbors who was 
set aside only in that his ability and good life had recommended him 
to encourage his fellow laborers in the sight of the Lord. 

Thirty-four student ministers filled out questionnaires in this 
study made at Bethany. Ten of this number said they were elected 
by the members going privately before visiting elders to express their 
choice. Since most of these men are less than thirty years of age 
it would seem that this procedure is still practiced. The description 
which one student gave of his election is valuable as an expression of 
the continuation of the historic procedure and attitude. 

The church needed a minister, so held an election by going in a back 
room and voting before two elders — a choice for minister. It fell on 
me, and I accepted as a call of the church, and not as an inner desire 
on my part. Since, I have tried to do what is necessary and becoming in 
the ministry.* 

7. Morgan Edwards, History of the Baptists, Vol. I, Part IV, p. 65. 

8, Questionnaire number 7. 


The historic procedure in electing a minister was democratic in 
its emphasis upon the authority of the group. There is a method in 
use today which allows a man or woman to volunteer for the minis- 
try. This is democratic in that it gives any individual the right to 
offer himself for the ministry. The group still has the right to say 
whether he shall be licensed or installed, or not. Of the thirty-four 
student ministers reporting in the questionnaires, ten said that they 
volunteered. In several cases it was mentioned that the voting was 
done by asking for a standing vote of approval of the applicant, 
either in regular council or during a Sunday service. This last meth- 
od could easily become undemocratic in that such group voting may 
easily involve subtle coercion. If a moderator so chose he could 
easily manipulate things so that the members would vote one way 
or another, more because of the appearance which an opposing vote 
would make than because of a definite feeling that it was really the 
best thing to do. 

The office of professional pastor is new enough in the Church of 
the Brethren that the church has not yet become fully adjusted to it. 
This study does not attempt to evaluate the effects of a professional 
ministry on democracy in the church. It is of interest, however, to 
note answers given in the questionnaires. Twenty-three said their 
pastor was also the presiding elder of their congregation; forty-one 
said he was not. In answer to the question "Does your pastor love 
each individual person for the person's own sake?" forty said. Yes; 
eight said. No; and six said they did not know. Only fifty-four out 
of seventy-one answered this question. "Does your pastor use peo- 
ple as means of promoting his own ends?", received fifteen affirma- 
tive answers and thirty-six negative answers. It will be noted that 
many did not answer this one, also. Thirteen said their pastor was 
partial to influential and important people and forty-two said he 
was not. One questionnaire paid a high tribute to "a succession of 
strong, democratic pastors" in overcoming the domination which a 
few of the elite had exercised in the church for years.® Another 
student tells how his pastor dominates the whole program of the 
church and is tolerated only for the sake of keeping peace. ^" The 
office of pastor has possibilities dangerous to Dunker democracy. 
Much depends upon the men who hold the office. 

9. Questionnaire number 28. 

10. Questionnaire number 60. 


The office of presiding elder of the local congregation has great 

possibilities for the thwarting of all the democracy intended to be 

guarded by the other democratic procedures of the church. The 

office of eldership, or bishop, itself was never intended to spoil the 

essential equality of all the brethren. In the Minutes of Annual 

Meeting we find: 

According to the word of our Saviour, (Matt. 18:8) 'One is your 
master, even Christ ; and all ye are brethren,' there is no difference in 
the Brotherhood or among- bishops but that which a higher age and 
more wisdom and experience may give.^^ 

A minister is made an elder or bishop through the request of his 
local congregation, that is, where he is a member. Generally the 
Elders' Meeting of the district sends in representatives to "for- 
ward" the brother. A presiding elder is still subject to the wishes 
of his congregation. As Gillin says^^ they were limited in their ac- 
tivity by their subordination to the church, the fountain of authority. 
In connection with this we find in the Minutes of Annual Meeting: 

Is it consistent with the Gospel for an elder to forward a brother to 
baptize who has been chosen to preach? 

Considered, that all power under God is vested in the church, and 
that therefore the church should be consulted in all such cases.^^ 

There are frequent Annual Meeting minutes which show the 

restrictions of authority which the group placed around the elder as 

a safeguard. It is very probable that these minutes represent sample 

cases of reactions of the old Dunker democratic ideal against the 

abuses of the authority which had been granted to elders. 

In case a bishop commits an error, is it to be overlooked more in 
him than in another brother in office, or a private member? Consider- 
ed, that elders that rule well, should be counted worthy of the double 
honor, and that overseers should not undertake anything of importance 
without counsel of the church, and if there should be a general com- 
plaint of the church against him, he is to acknowledge his fault before 
the church, like any other member, and should not be spared; for 'if 
the eye be evil, the whole body shall be full of darkness.'^* 

Gillin comments upon the above ruling by saying, "There was to 
be no chance for the growth of a hierarchy in that direction. The 
church was to be supreme."^" 

11. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1846, Art. 4. 

12. Gillin, The Bunkers, p. 172. 

13. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1853, Art. 4. 

14. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1849, Art. 9. 

15. Gillin, op. cit., p. 173. 


Here Is another example of Annual Meeting having to curb some 

official's tendency to assume too much authority: 

When the congregation wishes to act on a matter that is in harmony 
with the decision of Annual Meeting, and which affects the interests 
of the church, the official members ought not, and cannot prevent it 
from coming before the church, and if they do, the congregation has 
the privilege of calling in adjoining elders to assist.^^ 

In 1882 it was decided that an elder should not proceed to any 
course of action, without consulting the church. 

One of the problems of the office of eldership has been that some 
men have grown more autocratic as they grew older and the local 
church for one reason or another, submits rather than cause the 
strife which dethroning a man who is intrenched in office has brought 
to some churches. There are sometimes economic factors which 
complicate matters. In some churches the elder has become a pros- 
perous business man or farmer who controls the means of livelihood 
of numbers of the members of the church. A Bethany student re- 
ports : 

Up until last September's election, we have had the misfortune to 
have for an elder an old man who is quite dictatorial and dominating 
in policy. Because of his liberal contributions in the form of a church 
building, etc., he was a point of dissension, one group wishing to return 
him, the other favoring someone new. . . .^"^ 

In the student questionnaires ten cases appeared in which the eld- 
er seems to have a life-time term of office. Thirty-five reported that 
the term of office for their elder is one year; eleven said three years. 
It seems that the Dunker democratic ideal will be safeguarded in the 
office of elder by a definite term of office of not more than three 
years. In that case the elder would actually depend upon the mem- 
bership of the church for his authority. 



For more than a century the Dunkers had only the local organiza- 
tion and the Annual Meeting to unify the practices of the local 
churches. In 1856 Annual Meeting proposed the formation of dis- 
trict meetings. It was suggested that five, six or more adjoining 

16. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1879, Art. 10. 

17. Questionnaire number 23. 


churches should form themselves into a district for the purpose of 
meeting jointly and settling difficulties, thus lessening the business of 
the general Yearly or Annual Meeting. Here is a description of 
present day district organization : 

Local congregations are grouped according to convenience into 
districts. There are forty-seven districts in the United States, one in 
Canada. . . . 

Each District holds an annual conference usually called the District 
Meeting, The voting body consists of delegates from the churches, 
though others attend in large numbers and take part in the discussions. 
Each church is entitled to two delegates, and churches of over two 
hundred members may have an extra delegate for each additional two 
hundred members or fraction thereof (A. M. Minutes, 1912). However 
Annual Conference in 1924 granted to Districts having a membership 
of 1,000 or less the privilege to decide the number of delegates to dis- 
trict meeting. 

The business docket of District Conference consists chiefly of 
queries from the churches and Boards, and reports from District or- 
ganizations. Vacancies are filled and any necessary new appointments 
are made. The queries from the churches may deal with local, district 
or national problems. . . . The District Conference also chooses its 
delegate or delegates for Standing Committee. . . . 

The elders present at District Meeting assemble to consider prob- 
lems involving the best interests of the District. Elders in charge re- 
port on conditions in their several congregations. Among problems 
considered are licensing and ordaining ministers and advancing minis- 
ters to the eldership. They also hear grievances whether from a con- 
gregation or an individual, suggest solutions, and appoint committees 
to assist in making adjustments. Any member may come to the eld- 
ers' meeting for help.^ 

The district is the intermediate organization between the local 
church and the Annual Meeting. It arose as a matter of expediency 
when the membership was getting too large and too scattered for 
any large per cent of them to be able to attend the Annual Meeting. 
With the increase of number of congregations, the amount of busi- 
ness which needed to be referred to some group larger than the 
local congregation increased to the point that it was becoming a 
practical impossibility to care for all such matters at the general 
Annual Meeting. In setting up the organization of the District 
Meeting there was a definite modelling after the form of the Annual 
Meeting. The voting body is made up of representatives elected by 
the local churches. The basis upon which the number of delegates 
per church is decided seems to be fair. It is worth noting that dele- 

1. Merlin C. Shull and J. E. Miller, Minist^s Manual, p. 25. 


gates do not need to be officers or ministers; lay members actually 
serve as delegates in some districts as frequently as important local 
officers. This is in keeping with the Dunker democratic ideal. 

The fact that any member may appeal to District Meeting if he 
feels that his local church has not given him justice indicates the 
democratic recognition of the rights of the individual. 

The relative importance given to the Elders' Meeting of the dis- 
trict indicates an authority given to this body which is frequently 
exercised in spite of the wishes of the majority of average members 
affected. The form of procedure seems to be as democratic as a 
representative system can well be. It is the use which is made of it 
which determines its relative value as an instrument of democracy. 
From the questionnaires it would seem that the Dunker democratic 
ideal is thwarted more in districts and regions than in either the aver- 
age local church or the Annual Meeting.^ It also seems evident that 
this is due in some measure to the domination which one or more 
leaders exercise in many districts. In answer to the question: "In 
your home district, is it generally felt that one or more leaders dom- 
inate or dictate the district program?" twenty-six answered YES, 
and thirty-two answered NO. That is almost half who feel that 
leaders dominate things in the district. The young people's camps 
are district or regional projects. According to the questionnaires, in 
less than half of the young people's camps the young people choose 
their own leaders. One youth reported, concerning one of the larger 
camps and the method in which camp leaders are chosen, "If you get 
in good with that is all that matters. He runs that camp." 

The problem of district democracy seems to be largely a matter 
of the district leaders. The district seems to be the place where 
ambitious leaders can manipulate things to their own ends most 
easily without being held personally responsible by the mass of aver- 
age members, as they are in the local church where the average mem- 
bers are more constantly in touch with what is going on. Gillin has 
something to say regarding the domineering type of leaders which 
the Dunker church has produced and followed, at least partially. It 
applies to all procedures of the church because all of them depend 
upon the attitude of those carrying them into execution whether they 
will result in the realization of the Dunker democratic ideal or de- 
feat it. 

2. See questionnaire number 24 for an example. 


The Dunker type of disposition should probably be called domineer- 
ing. . . . The old man, the wealthy man, the successful man has always 
been reverenced among them. When on-ce the church has spoken in 
Annual Meeting, it becomes the duty of every member to render 
obedience to the decision. When a local congregation has expressed 
its mind on a matter, it is in bad taste, to say the least, for anyone to 
question the result. This disposition has played a large part in the 
history of the denomination. It made possible the imposition of the 
policy of coercion upon so large a part of the Dunker body for so long 
a time. It determined the sort of leaders that the Dunker church has 
produced, — men of the domineering type, who ruled by coercion rather 
than by their superior mental and moral qualities.^ 

Historically the Dunker democratic procedure has failed to al- 
ways result in the democracy which would be expected from an 
analysis of the procedures alone. Gillin says the willingness of the 
people to be coerced and dominated by the type of leader mentioned 
above is largely responsible for the cases in which the spirit of the 
Dunker democratic ideal has been defeated in spite of procedures 
which logically incorporate that ideal, if put into effect by demo- 
cratic leaders. "Men of the dominating type, who ruled by coercion 
rather than by their superior mental and moral qualities" are not 
as successful in manipulating modern Dunkers as they were twenty- 
five years ago. Since then the public educational system and the 
radio have affected the ways of thinking of the average man. This 
includes Dunkers. During the past quarter century urbanization 
has affected Dunker life and thought also. These influences may 
have had some part in disillusioning Dunkers as to the value of lead- 
ers of the domineering type. It seems that the nature of district pro- 
cedure has given the domineering leader more chance in the modern 
day than other procedures which are more directly connected to the 
will of "the people." 




In the eighteenth century when these meetings began they were 
simply for conference and devotion. "They were not meetings in 

3. Gillin, The Dunkers, p. 205. 


which legislation binding upon all the congregations was passed. At 

first, they were simply advisory."^ 

The Brethren Family Almanac of 1897 gives this description of 

the accepted function of the Annual Meetings of that day: 

These Annual Meetings are not legislative but judiciary, and delib- 
erate only on questions sent to the conference by the local churches. 
Everything is decided by the plain letter of the Gospel, or, in the ab- 
sence of this, by the spirit of the Gospel. The object of the conference 
is to unify the faith and practice of the different congregations, and 
keep them all in line with the plain teachings of the New Testament. 
The decisions of these meetings are published from year to year and 
sent to all the churches, that the churches may understand the mind 
of the conference on the various questions presented for consideration. 
Each member is expected to comply with these decisions, not because 
the Annual Meeting says so, but because the decisions thus agreed 
upon are presumed to set forth the teachings of the Scriptures as they 
relate to the questions in hand.^ 

The present significance of the General Conference or Annual 

Meeting is indicated in the "Brethren Ministers' Manual" : 

The Church of the Brethren accepts the Bible as the final authority 
in religion. But in church administration situations constantly arise 
for which no definite policies are outlined in the Word of Go^. Some- 
one must determine these policies. In our church this responsibility 
rests with the members. The highest human authority in our systen, 
of government is the general Conference; This Conference meets an- 
nually to consider matters affecting the welfare of the whole church. 
The voting body consists of two sets of delegates, those from the dis- 
tricts, which make up the Standing Committee, and those representing 
local congregations. All have full liberty to participate in the discus- 
sions but only delegates vote.^ 

As the highest authority in the church the Annual Meeting repre- 
sents a democratic principle. In theory, the voice of Annual Meet- 
ing is the voice of all the people, spoken through their representa- 
tives. Originally when Annual Meeting was just a big meeting which 
was attended by a relatively large per cent of the average members 
it was more truly democratic. When practically all the congregations 
in America were located relatively close together in Pennsylvania 
and Maryland there were probably quite a number of representa- 
tives from each local church. With the great expansion movement 
which scattered local churches between the Atlantic and the Pacific 
came difficulties in attending Annual Meeting. The distance. is. too 

1. GilHn, The Bunkers, p. 158. 

2. Brethren's Family Almmiac, 1897, p. 11. 

3. Brethren Ministers' Manual, p. 13. 


great for many churches to feel that they can afford to send dele- 
gates. The more prosperous churches may send delegates regardless 
of where the meeting is held. But small or poor churches seldom 
send delegates when the meeting is at the other end of the United 
States. Since each congregation is allowed one delegate and those 
having more than two hundred members are allowed two delegates 
we might expect well over a thousand delegates from the 1,021 
churches with a membership of 173,783 people. Depending upon 
where conference is held, the delegate body is actually made up of 
only about four hundred delegates.^ In an attempt to be fair to all 
concerned Annual Meeting is held in a different region each year. 
There may be no way of having more local churches represented 
each year, but the fact remains that the delegate body at any one 
conference does not have voting representatives from a very large 
per cent of the local churches. 

At the 1939 Annual Meeting all the districts had representatives 
on Standing Committee except three. This is good as compared 
to church representation. In theory, at least, this district represen- 
ta,tion partially makes up for poor participation in order to be most 
effective. Unity of the Brotherhood and general support and par- 
ticipation would seem to be greatly promoted by having more gen- 
eral representation at Annual Meeting. The practice of sending 
several copies of the Minutes of Annual Meeting to each local 
church is an effort to keep the members of the local churches in 
touch with church policies. 

The Annual Meeting is "not legislative but judiciary, and delib- 
erates only on questions sent to the conference by the local churches." 
It does not presume to take the right to propose and legislate upon 
new matters of business. If an individual member so desires he may 
present some matter of importance to be discussed and acted upon 
by his local church. The church may agree to pass the matter to 
district meeting. If district meeting cannot settle it or it is a matter 
of general policy which is not within its realm it may pass the matter 
on to Annual Meeting for decision. The Standing Committee also 
has the right to introduce business to Annual Meeting. This is 
logical because the Standing Committee is made up of district rep- 

4. Gospel Messenger, July 1, 1939, p. 17. During the ten years beginning with 1920 
the average number of delegates was 462. The average number of delegates since 1930 
has been 382. 


resentatives. These methods of presenting business to Annual 
Meeting seem to be in keeping with the Dunker democratic ideal. 
This limiting of Annual Meeting to the judiciary function appears 
to be very wholesome from the standpoint of democracy. 

The function of the Standing Committee is significant to this 
study. Brumbaugh says that the Standing Committee likely arose 
from a practice in the Zinzendorf synods in Pennsylvania where 

a committee from all the different denominations should hear all ques- 
tions and decide what ones should be broug'ht before the Synod ; and, 
further, that questions should be considered in the name o*" the con- 
gregation bringing the question and not in the name of the person 

These two decisions evidently gave precedent for our Standing Com- 
mittee and for our manner of sending queries to Annual Meeting.^ 
The Annual Meeting of 1931 passed the following: 

1. Duties of the Standing Committee — 

(a) The Standing Committee shall appoint the officers of the Annual 
Conference and members of all Boards and Committees authorized by 
Annual Conference. 

(b) Shall receive all the material for Annual Conference and decide 
the order of presentation. 

(c) Shall place answers to all queries not answered by the Districts 
from which they come. , . . 

(d) Shall consider and determine action on matters of appeal for com- 
mittees to churches. 

(e) Shall receive and review all reports to conference prepared by the 
General Boards and Committee. 

(f) Matters deemed of vital importance to the Brotherhood thousrh 
not coming through Districts or General Boards may be presented by 
Standing Committee to the Conference. 

Cg) A brief report of the conditions of -the Districts shall be sfiven to 
Standing Committee by a delegate from the District and a report of 
the work of Standing Committee shall be given before the elders of the 
District and of the Annual Conference to District Meeting, 
(h) The Standingf Committee is a supervisory body and interested in 
the work of administration in the entire Brotherhood, therefore, any 
irregularity or indifference to duty in Districts and churches or any 
nonfeasance by officials thereof shall receive attention by Standinof 
Committee and the Committee shall attempt to correct such condi- 
tions through the org^anization of District elders. 

2. Members of Standing Committee may be elected to serve twice in 
five years, but not oftener. 

The Standing Committee has large authority in the appointment 
of officers and board members. This is significant because the 

5. Brumbaugh, A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America, 


boards have assumed a place of so large importance in the direction 
and administration of the whole program of the church that their 
personnel is important. The Standing Committee still has the power 
to regulate the work of the boards. The only way the average 
member or local church could introduce a suggested reform in the 
work or personnel of the boards for general conference decision 
would be through introducing a query. This is a possible check on 
the assumption of too much authority but is a rather slow and in- 
direct method of control. 

Final authority for the decision of matters of general policy and 
such other matters as may be included in queries rests with the joint 
conference of Standing Committee with the delegates from the 
local churches. Standing Committee members and representatives 
of local churches each have one vote in this general conference. 

The fact that any member of the denomination has a right to 
appeal to Standing Committee in case he feels he has not been given 
justice at the hands of his local church or district is an indication of 
the attempt to keep procedure democratic. An individual did ap- 
peal to Standing Committee at the 1939 conference. The moderator 
and committee appeared to be concerned in handling the case care- 
fully and fairly. 

The fact that members of Standing Committee may not be elected 
to serve oftener than twice in five years is a safeguard to democracy. 
It tends to result in the participation of a larger number of elders in 
this important task. It also discourages any possible plan whereby 
a group might control things in an undemocratic way as a result of 
holding office continuously for a number of years. The plan which 
designates that a man can serve as moderator only once in three 
years is also sound from the viewpoint of democracy. 

It is significant that queries cannot be presented for Annual 
Meeting action by individuals. Queries must be presented in the 
name of the congregation. This is an example of the balancing be- 
tween individual right and group judgment. 

From time to time various checks have been set up in an attempt, 
apparently to safeguard democracy. Here are some of the rules 
set down in Article I, of the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of 
1890, concerning procedure in the general conference: 

4. No brother shall have the privilege of making more than two 


speeches on the same subject, except by consent of the meeting, and 
the first shall not be longer than fifteen, and the last than five minutes. 

8. The moderator shall decide when the discussion on each subject 
shall close, and when the question shall be put on its final passage. 
But if objection is made to his ruling, then the Standing Committee 
must unite with him in deciding the matter. 

10. No question shall be put on its passage before the delegate 
presenting the question may have an opportunity to explain it. 

12. All members present shall have the right to participate in the 
discussion of all questions before the meeting: and in case any query 
or queries cannot pass by unanimous consent, the delegates and Stand- 
ing Committee shall decide them by a two-thirds majority. 

The procedures of Annual Meeting are for the most part in keep- 
ing with the Dunker democratic ideal. As is always the case, the 
form of procedure does not make a thing democratic if there is not 
a democratic spirit motivating the participants. Whether it is in- 
tentionally kept that way or not, is not for this study to determine, 
but the lack of average member understanding of why and how con- 
ference or some conference-approved board or committee does 
things hinders the realization of the democracy which the procedures 
were set up to make possible. The attitude of many well meaning 
leaders is that Standing Committee and the boards do everything 
important and the other functions of Annual Meeting are for fel- 
lowship and inspiration. If this spirit is or becomes general it ren- 
ders the otherwise democratic procedures of Annual Meeting inef- 
fective. It would seem to be wholesome for the democracy of An- 
nual Meeting if the delegate body would declare its authority by 
refusing to approve of some appointment made by Standing Com- 
mittee. If this is not a possibility. Annual Meeting becomes a farce 
as a democratic procedure expressing the desire of "the people." 
From the standpoint of democracy, more local churches should be 
represented in the delegate body of every Annual Conference. 


In analyzing the form of procedure in local, district, and general 
church government the conclusion has been, for the most part, that 
the form of procedure which is recognized as being accepted and 
customary in the Church of the Brethren is in keeping with the Dun- 
ker democratic ideal. The form has not changed materially, but 


how about the usage? Although an objective analysis of church 
polity does not show the spirit and attitudes in which the rules are 
practiced, it is understood that the prevailing spirit and the attitudes 
of the leaders and the average members is equally significant in 
ascertaining the real democracy of contemporary church procedures. 
A very real danger in the Church of the Brethren is that the forms 
of democracy in procedure will be preserved because they are pre- 
cious to the masses while the appearance of democracy which the 
forms give is used for a cloak to cover undemocratic usage of the 
forms. Of course such action will be easily rationalized and justified 
by the ambitious and perhaps well meaning souls who advocate it. 
The danger of loss of perspective on why Dunker procedures are 
as they are is a real one. 

When new orgfanizations first get under way there is a natural en- 
thusiasm about their mission which carries them a long way forward 
with splendid vigor. . . . 

But all this becomes decreasingly true as organizations increase in 
size, in age, and in prestige. Hardening of the arteries is a danger of 
the middle years which can only be withstood as organization leaders 
give special thought to the problems which age brings. Over-centraliz- 
ed authority, confused responsibility, a sense of vested rights in jobs, 
lessened clarity and earnestness about the central aim, the burden of 
a heavy overhead, the utilization of elaborate plant equipment, the 
dwindling interest of financial supporters — all these and other com- 
plexities grow up. . . . ^ 

If the above mentioned tendencies are to be averted it is neces- 
sary to keep a clear perspective on the real purpose of the church. 
With the great urbanization movement in America and the indus- 
trialization of modern life has come the institutionalization of the 
pioneer American church, including the Church of the Brethren. 
With the coming of professional pastors in the local church, field 
men in the district, and directors, secretaries, managers and what- 
nots in the general church administration comes the tendency to 
build and maintain a great institution for its own sake. It is under- 
stood, of course, that organization, procedures and trained leaders 
are necessary in the modern church. 

Yet in spite of necessarv mechanism the church must be a brother- 
hood. The church . . . can become a brotherhood only by the subordina- 
tion of necessary ecclesiastical mechanisms to the brotherly spirit. It 
is the task of present-day Christianity to make the church a brother- 

1. Ordway Tead, Creative Management, p. 7. 


hood ... by gaining an understanding of the old and by subordinating 
the 'letter which killeth' to the 'spirit which maketh alive. '^ 

The purpose of the church needs to be redefined if the Church of 
the Brethren is to be the means of promoting either Democracy in 
the Christian form of Brotherhood or the kind of Christianity which 
will be effective because of the individual's experiences of participa- 
tion in creative living within a brotherhood. From the viewpoint of 
this study, the purpose of the church might well be defined In keep- 
ing with the Dunker democratic ideal. That Ideal emphasizes two 
things: 1. the value of the Individual person and his right to liberty 
in following the guidance of the voice of God In his own heart; 2. 
the welfare and authority of the group. The first Implies that an 
Individual is an end In himself, not a means to an end. The second 
Implies the Importance of fellowship and brotherhood within the 
social group. As has been shown, these two elements serve as ad- 
mirable checks, one on the other. Of course, neither of these taken 
in a narrow sense will give the church any purpose beyond Its own 
group. If we were to say that the large purpose of the church Is to 
redeem Individuals and society, we would come back to the Dunker 
democratic Ideal and say that In order to do society as a whole any 
lasting good an Intimate fellowship and brotherhood must be built 
up within the framework of the Dunker democracy. The larger 
mission of being "the Hght of the world" makes It essential that the 
light be kept alive within the group. This necessitates equality, fel- 
lowship and brotherhood on the one hand, and the maintenance of 
the rights of the individual personality as sacred on the other. The 
group will never do society much real good if the individual Is dis- 
regarded In the process. The processes of a Dunker democracy 
should always and at all points express brotherhood and fellowship 
on the basis of the recognition of personality values. 

In Christian democracy the participation of the average individu- 
al In the formation of the policies of the group is essential. That Is 
the essence of democracy. The Dunker democratic Ideal would lead 
us to conclude that this is the method whereby individuals grow In 
Christian character. 

In a Democracy, each person has a share In the responsibility for 
deciding what is to be done, not just to follow commands. Helping to 
decide is hard work. But we believe that children cannot grow up 

2. Arthur E. Holt, This Nation Under God, p. 129. 


unless they are allowed to make decisions and take the consequences. 
In the same way, we believe that you and I, . . . will be better men 
and women if we do our thinking for ourselves. 

The best government is the one that gets the most thoughtful help 
from all its citizens because such a government will give every man a 
chance to grow into the best man he is capable of being.^ 

The rise of boards and committees has been in the name of ef- 
ficiency. There is no doubt but that the smoothly running church 
organization is considered to be efficient since many Americans have 
come to consider a big institution with many activities running along 
like clock work as a real mark of church success. The smoothness 
with which some churches run is as likely to be a sign of highly co- 
ordinated and well oiled machinery as it is that the church is meet- 
ing the needs of individual members and promoting a brotherhood 
that goes deeper than easy and respectable sociability. If an im- 
portant half of the purpose of the church is the development of 
Christian character in individuals then the processes of participation 
whereby the individual develops Christian character are a truer test 
of a church organization's effectiveness than the smooth promotion 
of a large and "successful" institution. The Church of the Brethren 
does not rapidly change customary procedures but it has rapidly ab- 
sorbed the attitudes of the contemporary urbanization and indus- 
trialization movement. This makes the danger of loss of the scale 
of values of the Dunker democratic ideal very real. We are likely 
to mistake the form of democratic procedure, which we perpetuate, 
for the presence of true Christian democracy. 

The matter of average member participation is very important. 
It is necessary to the individual's development and, in the long run, 
it is necessary to average member support of the church. "The day 
is past when adults can be coerced into supporting enterprises whose 
value is not apparent."* One of the great advantages of the old time 
council meeting, which went over every matter of church business, 
was the fact that the large majority of the members understood 
what decisions were made, why, and how. They also must have felt 
that they all had a part in determining policies and plans. It would 
seem logical that such participation in policy and program planning 
would result in far greater enthusiasm in support of a church pro- 
gram than many modern churches, which are virtually run by the of- 

Lyman Bryson, Which Way America! 
Earl F. Zigler, Toward Utiderstaiidim 

4. Earl F. Zigler, Toward Understanding Adults, p. 110. 


ficers and boards, are able to work up. One of the Bethany students 

gives this comparison between two churches in which she has lived 

and worked : 

... at First Church of X , I was especially impressed by the wide 

difference between the churches in general. X is highly organized. 

Many people are active — but there are many people who take no inter- 
est whatsoever. At Y , the church is not highly organized but all 

the people are interested.^ 

Fellowship of the right kind is extremely important to the realiza- 
tion of the Dunker democratic ideal. Holt characterizes a democra- 
tic religion as one "which lays a great deal of emphasis upon freedom 
of the individual and relies for unity on fellowship rather than on 
authority and discipline."^ In a democracy unity is built upon cohe- 
sion, not coercion. In the small rural church where there were no 
social class distinctions and where all the members followed the same 
general vocational pattern of life, the problem of cohesion was not 
as difficult as it is in the average church of any size today. Urbaniza- 
tion and the specializations of industrialized society have scattered 
the membership of the average church geographically; but much 
more serious is the scattering in social, educational and vocational 
lines. Mark Dawber says that democracy depends upon community of 
interests; he says that people need to work, play, and live together in 
order to have enough understanding of each other and enough of a 
feeling of community of interests to have a basis for the develop- 
ment of unity or cohesion. M. L. Wilson, Under Secretary of 
Agriculture says : 

In a society where the citizens are insensible to one another's feel- 
ings and problems, democracy becomes impossible : comradeship, fel- 
lowship, friendship, even citizenship cease to be realities. And most 
people, once they come to believe that they are living in a culture from 
which unity has departed, will desert that situation for any other which 
convincingly claims to restore the tribal sense of friendliness and 
comradeship in the world.*^ 

In the past. Brethren helped each other when they moved, thresh- 
ed, built a house or barn, or husked corn. Dan West says of this : 

It seemed the natural and sensible thing to do. It was not always 
called religious, but it helped to build brotherhood and so was basically 

5. Questionnaire number 20. 

6. Holt, op. cit. 

7. Wilson, Democracy Has Roots, p. 461. 


In some places this old custom still exists, but in most places it is 
gone. The fellowship that comes from direct help has lessened until 
some church members feel closer to some persons outside the church 
than they do to many of their own brethren and sisters,* 

The modern church must have the modern equivalent of this kind 
of basis for real brotherhood. Fellowship suppers and fellowship 
groups are not enough. The traditional fellowship after meeting 
at the rural Dunker church did not just happen. It was built on the 
community of interests which go with living, working and playing 
together. To superimpose the niceties of sociability on the modern 
First Church of the Brethren of a modern city is a sad and hollow 
caricature of the genuine fellowship and brotherhood which is an 
outgrowth of the sharing of mutual woes and burdens, joys and in- 

One Bethany student wrote in answer to the question of why the 
active members of her home church do not know each other personal- 
ly: "They are not thrown together except on Sundays and no time 
for getting acquainted."® If tRere is to be real brotherhood some- 
thing must be done about this. Many churches are obviously too 
big for all the members to be even acquainted personally with all 
the other members, at least under the present system. So long as 
the big institution is more important than the development of the 
character and personality of the average individual Christian, we 
will continue to glorify the big church instead of consciously keep- 
ing in mind the possibility of greater participation and growth of 
personality in the smaller churches. 

Another modern condition which may hinder the realization of 

the Dunker democratic ideal is indicated by this quotation from The 

Story of Religion in America'. 

The great popular churches, which had achieved such phenomenal 
success in following population westward, and which had been proud 
to be known as poor men's churches, were rapidly being transformed 
into churches of the upper middle class.^® 

As the great denominations came more and more to be controlled 
by business methods, and dominated by men of wealth; as the serv- 
ices tended to become more formal and as ministers and choirs donned 
their robes, and cushions were placed on the pews, people of limited 

8. Dan West, The Coming Brotherhood, p. 14. 

9. Questionnaire number 47. 

10. Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, p. 496. 


means began to feel more and more out of place and complaints began 
to be raised that 'heart religion' was disappearing.^^ 

Class distinction makes real brotherhood and democracy impos- 
sible in some modern Dunker churches. The virtual elimination of 
the poor from the church is entirely contrary to the Dunker dem- 
ocratic ideal. In theory, everybody is welcome. In practice, some 
churches affiliated with the Church of the Brethren are more over- 
joyed with the occasional attendance and half hearted support of 
"professional" and "important" people than with the possibilities 
of rebuilding the life of a poor man, who really hungers for fellow- 
ship and righteousness, by making him one of their Intimate brother- 

The attitudes of the leaders have a lot to do with democracy. 

The attitude which the people have toward their leaders is almost 

equally Important. One of the things that looks worst for the future 

of democracy in the Church of the Brethren Is the fact that the 

average members of the average churches do not know how the 

denomination or local church Is governed and seem not to care. 

Therefore the leaders who are entrusted with the responsibilities of 

running the church need to be very careful to seek to keep In touch 

with the desires and needs of the average people and to serve them 

rather than use them. In Christian Faith and Democracy, Vlastos 


I do not know any idea in history that is more revolutionary than 
this idea that Jesus taught and lived: that the measure of human great- 
ness is not one's ability to dominate, but one's ability to serve .... The 
feeble and faltering extent to which we have accepted it is the measure 
of our democracy.^^ 

We have already observed that some Dunker leaders have been 
of the domineering type. Some modern ones have adopted more 
subtle methods of domination. Some seem to feel that they were 
chosen of God to do good to and for people ; their condescending air 
is the odious mark of having never risen to the heights of the Dunker 
democratic Ideal. The leader-follower relation needs to be elevated 
to one of more genuine partnership. Instead of feeling that they are 
"being done good to"^^ average people should be helped to grow, 

11. Ibid., p. 506. 

12. Vlastos, Christian Faith and Democracy, p. 25. 

13. Tead, op. cit., p. 12. 


through participation in an atmosphere of reciprocal and mutual 


This is a copy of the complete questionnaire which was given to 
Bethany students. The answers which can be easily tabulated and 
summarized are given following the questions. 

Questionnaire on Democratic Spirit and Procedure in the 

Name — Home church — Its Membership 
Is it a rural church? 

Ans. — 49, Yes; 22, No. 
What is your church district? 

Ans. — Reports from 34 districts. 

1. What is the approximate average attendance at church council 

Ans. — Rural (47 churches) 

Average membership 254.9 

Average council attendance 57.2 

Per cent of membership 

attending council 22.5 

City (21 churches) 

Average membership 341.4 

Average council attendance 76.6 

Per cent of membership 

attending council 21.2 

Churches of three hundred mem- 
bers and over (21 churches) 
Average membership 536.7 . . 

Average council attendance 91.2 

Per cent of membership 

attending council 16.9 

Churches under three hundred 
(48 churches) 

Average membership 147.7 
Average council attendance. 49.4 . 
Per cent of members attending ...■.'. 

council 33.4 

2. How often is regular council or business meeting held? 

Ans. — 4 monthly; 1 bi-monthly; 38 quarterly; 22 semiannually; 
4 annually. 


3. Are things sometimes "cut and dried" to be "railroaded" thru 

Ans. — Z7, Yes ; 25, No. 

4. Are elections of church officers held at regular church council? 
Ans. — 61, Yes; 9, No. 

5. If not, when are they held? Why? 

6. Are matters of business for the whole church regularly handled 
at other times than at regular church council? 

7. If so, when is it done? Why, then? 

8. Does your church have a nominating committee? 
Ans. — 50, Yes; 15, No. 

How many members? 

Ans, — 15 have 3 ; 13 have 5 ; 8 have 6 or more. 

9. Does it make nominations for all officers elected by the church? 
Ans. — 36, Yes ; 14, No. 

10. Are members given the opportunity to make additional nomina- 
tions to those of the committee, or to write in their own choice? 

Ans. — 52, Yes ; 5, No. 

11. Are any officers or delegates chosen by each individual writing 
the name of his choice on his ballot without any suggestions? 

Ans. — 33, Yes ; 29, No. 

12. Is it a rule in your church that one person must always have a 
majority of all votes cast in order to be elected? 

Ans. — 39, Yes ; 27, No. 

13. Do average members have a chance to know what the boards and 
committees of the church do and why? 

Ans. — 52, Yes; 15, No. 

14. Do boards and committees do things contrary to the known wish- 
es of the majority of the members? 

Ans. — 16, Yes ; 48, No. 

15. Would an average member be. justified in feeling that he was ex- 
pected to support a program which was planned by a board without 
his understanding why? 

Ans. — 9, Yes ; 53, No. 

16. Do committees plan for such things as revivals without consult- 
ing the church? 

Ans. — 14, Yes ; 54. No. 

17. Is your church an example of Christian democracy? 
Ans. — 34. Yes; 20. No. 

18. What is the term of office for the elder of your church? 

Ans. — 35, one year; 11, three years; 10, lifetime or indefinite. 

19. Are nominations made for the election of elder? 
Ans. — 32, Yes ; 24, No. 

By whom? 

20. Does the elder who is in office conduct the election of an elder? 
Ans. — 18, Yes ; 37, No. 


21. Does your elder unreasonably overrule or otherwise take advan- 
tage of the majority of the church members and their desires? 

Ans. — 13, Yes ; 56, No. 

22. Is your pastor also the elder of your congregation? 
Ans. — 23, Yes ; 41, No. 

23. Does your pastor love each individual person for the person's own 

Ans. — 40, Yes ; 8, No ; 6 put a? 

24. Does your pastor use people as a means of promoting his own 

Ans. — 15, Yes ; 36, No; 3 were uncertain. 

25. Is he partial to influential and important people? 
Ans. — 13, Yes ; 42, No. 

26. In your home district, is it generally felt that one or more leaders 
dominate or dictate the district program? 

Ans. — 26, Yes ; 32, No. 

27. Is your summer camp program so dominated? 
Ans. — 17, Yes ; 36, No. 

28. Do the young people run the young people's camp? 
Ans. — 35, Yes ; 21, No. 

29. Are the young people's camp leaders chosen by young people? 
Ans. — 22, Yes ; 26, No. 

30. Does your church have a family feeling which includes all the 
active members? 

Ans. — 45, Yes ; 19, No. 

31. Are there definitely recognized cliques in your church? 
Ans. — 39, Yes ; 23, No. 

32^ Are there occasions when your whole church family gets togeth- 
erlnformally to work or play? 
Ans. — 43, Yes ; 12, No. 

33. If so, how of ten ? If not, would it be possible? 

34. Do all the active members of the church know each other per- 

Ans. — 58, Yes; 11, No. 

35. If not, why not? 

36. Do you feel that it is necessary to have "pull" in order to have 
a fair chance to earn recognition in the Church of the Brethren? 

Ans. — 17, Yes ; 45, No. 

37. If you are a minister describe how you were elected. 


The Annual Business Meeting- of the Alexander Mack Historical 
Society was called to order at 4:00 P. M., May 25, 1940. It was held in 
the office of the Correspondence-Study Department. 

One of the first items of business was to call attention to the fact 
that the Tentative Constitution presented in 1939 was to become in full 
effect at this business meeting. No amendments having been present- 
ed, on motion and vote the constitution was declared valid and in 
force. (See Vol. I. No. 1.) 

One meeting of the Executive Committee was held during the year, 
of date April 8, 1940. They had appointed Ira Scrogum and Merlin 
Garber as Nominating Committee. 

The report of the Nominating Committee showed the first annual 
ballot had resulted in the following staff of officers : 
President— F. E. Mallott 
Vice President — Elgin Moyer 
Secretary Treasurer — Ruth B. Mallott 
Members of the Executive Committee: 
S. Earl Mitchell 
Ira D. Scrogum 

A discussion of the probabilities of Mr. Scrogum'si residence during 
the ensuing year resulted in the choice by the meeting of Mrs, David 
Wieand to serve as Mr. Scrogum's alternate on the Executive Com- 

The Meeting approved the action of the Executive Committee in 
accepting the offer of Mr. Will Judy, of the Judy Publishing Co., to 
sponsor a Prize Essay Contest. The Contest was discussed, enthusi- 

The Executive Committee recommended several persons for voting 
membership in the Society for the year 1940-1941, After discussion 
the following persons were declared the first official list of members 
of the Society. 

F. E. Mallott Roland Showalter 

E. S. Moyer Chalmer Faw 

Ira Scrogum Susie Thomas 

L, D. Rose W. H, Miley 

Russell West Ruth B, Mallott 

Will Judy Sam Harley 

Earl Mitchell Robert Strickler 

David Wieand Elizabeth Wieand 

Merlin Garber Loren Bowman 

It was decided that some communication from each Voting Mem- 
ber must be received during the year, or at the option of the Execu- 
tive Committee the name might be dropped in the annual revision. 

At present it seems that the Seminary is the best place for the An- 
nual Business Meeting. The sentiment was for some other time than 
Commencement Week, Adjournment. 

Secretary, Ruth B. Mallott. 


Christian Education and the Alcohol Problem — John Funk Locke, 
The National S. S. Association of the Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio, 
pp. 132, $.50. 

However to be accounted for I confess that speeches and books con- 
cerning alcohol make me tired. Perhaps it is the feeling of futility 
growing out of the failure of National Prohibition and the slowness 
of the Church to develop any alternative. We have had a great deal of 
generalized exhortation that we must educate. But most of the ex- 
hortation is too generalized to point to any action. 

But here is a small book that does educate. It is the storehouse of 
information, up-to-date statistics, authoritative quotations and relevant 
reasoning which every minister and public speaker ought to have at 
his disposal. To quote from the Foreword, "This book is sent forth in 
the hope that it may stimulate intelligent thot and action among par- 
ents, pastors, young people and their leaders, in fact, all those whose 
task it is to help the rising generation to reach a Christian solution 
of the problem presented by alcoholic drinks." 

After reading a few pages that "tired feeling" disappears. This book 
is readable and impresses one with its authority. "Some parts of 
it were written under the supervision of Dean Luther Allen Weigle 
of the Divinity School of Yale University. Other sections first took 
form as lectures and sermons." 

The historical chapter giving the story of the temperance movement 
in the U. S. is the best short sketch of its kind, I have ever seen. 

It is instructive to hear Governor Dutton of Connecticut explaining 
in 1865 why the state prohibition law of 1854 was a failure. It sounds 
like a discussion of the national situation in 1935. "Someone has 
cynically remarked that all we ever learn from history, is that we 
never learn anything from history. But there are those who do learn 
something. They are the salt of the earth and to them is addressed this 
discussion of Christian Education and the Alcohol Problem." 

There is no good stopping place after one has begun to quote. This 
is the second book issued under the sponsorship of the National Sun- 
day School Association of the Brethren Church. This series promised 
to make a genuine contribution to adult education. 

The book is crammed full of interesting facts and significant quota- 
tions. In its pages we find Aristotle's dictum, "The fate of Empires 
depends on the education of youth." Here are statements on the alcohol 
question by a number of American presidents. Lincoln is quoted ex- 
tensively. The best analysis of the economic effects of Prohibition was 
made by Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce. What are the facts 
concerning alcohol and longevity? British and American life insur- 
ance companies have studied the matter and made their findings 
public. While alcohol is being abolished as a beverage, it is becoming 
of increasing importance as an industrial product. It may be the next 
century will be the Alcohol Age and that the rank vegetable growth 
of the tropics, will become one of our most indispensable sources of 


industrial alcohol. The word alcohol is derived from an Arabic word 
meaning "the subtle". And so it goes on. 

I will commend it to the readers of this review by saying that it was 
one of the books I have been looking for. In conclusion I present one 
of its ideas in a quotation from page 82, "The day has passed for the 
Church to assert that she fights drink for the sake of youth. The day 
has come for the Church to call youth to fight drink for the sake of 
the community and the ideal society. Such a call must be positive. It 
must be practical, for the normal youth thinks concretely." 

— F. E. Mallott. 



Editor, F. E. Mallott, Professor of Church History Bethany Biblical Seminary 
Assistant Editor, Elgin S. Mover Contributing Editor, L. D. Rose 

Volume II JANUARY, 1941 Number Two 


A Peculiar People 75 

F. E. Mallott 

Writings of Michael Frantz 78 

Announcement 82 

Some Unwritten History of Northeastern 

District of Ohio 83 

Charles E. Zunkle 

As Others Tell It 86 

Brethren Hymnody in the Nineteenth Century 87 

William Beery 

Preparing for Church Membership 97 

Robert L. S trickier 


F. E. Mallott, A.M., D.D., Professor of O. T. and Church History in Bethany 
Biblical Seminary. Editor of Schwarzenau. 

Charles E. Zunkle, A.B., B.D., is a graduate of Manchester College and 
Bethany Biblical Seminary. Utilizes his opportunity to inquire into interesting 
phases of the life of the region in which he lives. Formerly a pastor of North- 
eastern Ohio, he is now pastor of the Church of the Brethren, Lima, Ohio. 

William Beery, one of the most active retired men we know. Dean of the 
musicians of the Church of the Brethren. 

Robert L. Strickler, A.B., B.S., is a graduate of Bridgewater College and 
Bethany Biblical Seminary. Church of the Brethren pastor of the State of Vir- 
ginia. An unpublished chapter of the study here presented is held over as a 
future article. 


f[ We would call the attention of every reader to the Announcement of 
the reprint of the Prize Essay contest on page 82. 

U A number of letters of inquiry concerning the Autumn Number of this 
journal have already been received. We present herewith the combined 
Autumn-Winter Number. This is an economy move. We survived the 
crisis of the end of our first year. Unlike governments, the Alexander 
Mack Historical Society cannot sell bonds and does not wish to strain 
its credit. We wish to set a good example, too. 

The first volume consisted of four numbers. The subscribers to 
the second volume will receive the three issues. 

On the inside cover is found an announcement to the eflfect that this 
is a semi-annual publication. As we have said, we should like to have a 
quarterly but the appearance of a regular quarterly will depend upon 
a larger and more regular body of subscribers. We spent too much 
soliciting our first year's subscribers. It is the automatic renewing sub- 
scribers we are needing. 

We shall not change the announcement on the inside cover until 
patronage justifies the change. And all subscribers take note that under 
our Subscribing Membership plan, dues become payable each July. 
The number of issues of the magazine in any one year is determined 
by the revenue, for printers' bills must be paid. 

In the meantime, significant manuscripts accumulate. The editor 
must make selections and choices. Our appeal is to those who have an 
interest in Dunker history. 


F. E. Mallott 

Nothing has been more characteristic of those groups who trace 
their spiritual ancestry through Schwarzenau, than the insistence 
that they were called to be a peculiar people. 

If at times, this emphasis upon peculiarity has tended to become 
extreme and seems to have served no useful purpose, there are two 
things to say in extenuation. First, a tendency to extremes is ev- 
idence of the weakness of man — one evidence of that imperfection 
which fills all things human. Secondly, the test of immediate use- 
fulness — utilitarianism — is one of the heresies of our times; a pur- 
blind heresy which fails to recognize the realm of the Spirit. 

After a generation of diminishing emphasis upon the fact of 
peculiarity, this company of people is just beginning to experience 
a great resurgence of the consciousness of being non-conformists. 

In the closing years of the eighteenth century Dunker garb began 
to take form. From 1800 to 1911, peculiarity of garb was a prom- 
inent feature of Church life. The peculiar garb was the unpremed- 
itated and unplanned outgrowth of the non-resistant principles of 
the early Brethren. The garb originated in Mennonite and Quaker 
circles and was imitated in part by the Brethren as an expression 
of sympathy for and kinship with the other non-resistant peoples 
in their struggles with the militaristic party in early Pennsylvania. 

For a time the garb was a major issue. But the process of urban- 
ization, or as others state it, the assimilation of the Brethren into 
Industrial capitalist society has proceeded far. It has seemed the 
peculiar garb was an issue of a former day. The grandchildren of 
those who had worn it seemed to be growing ashamed of being pe- 

But suddenly events have put a new face on the entire situation. 
We find that we are peculiar. We find ourselves at grips with the 
major evil of contemporary industrial society^ — War. 


With the other "historic peace churches" — our old colleagues 
of the eighteenth century — we stand as Gideon's forces — a handful 
before a host. Of old the victory belonged to the handful. But to 
stand with that handful today is to be conspicuously peculiar. 

But what is the essence of this peculiarity? And how is it related 
to the growing spirit of unity and inter-church co-operation, which 
is said to be the special characteristic and hope of our century? 

It needs be said first, that this emphasis upon the peculiar people 
is directed against the world and not against Christians of other 
traditions. Whenever and wherever the doctrine of the peculiar 
people has been invoked to exalt our own denomination over other 
denominational churches, it has been the abuse and unintelligent 
misunderstanding of the words of Holy Scripture. 

Dunkers remain a peculiar people because of the elements within 
the religious position hammered out at Schwarzenau. Within that 
position are at least three elements capable of being stated. 

The Brethren are by inheritance mystics. The mystic appeals to 
the spiritual. He accepts the basic values as being invisible and 
intangible. Anyone who will adopt the way of mysticism as the 
basic attitude of his life and refer his conduct to an invisible norm, 
will in this world of ours, be regarded as peculiar. 

The Brethren are by inheritance pietistic. Originating as they 
did from a background in the Pietistic Revival, an emphasis upon 
personal moral goodness is a prominent element in Brethren faith. 
If anyone will make moral goodness the major goal of his striving, 
he will be peculiar in this world of ours. 

The Brethren are by inheritance Biblical. The early Brethren 
were far ahead of the majority of their day in being able to distin- 
guish between the Old Dispensation and the New. 

Recently in conversation, a fellow-minister advanced the idea that 
since the adoption of the uniform International Sunday School 
lessons, the traditional Brethren sharpness of distinction between 
Old and New Testaments has become dimmed. Even so, quite gen- 
erally in Brethren circles there is an intelligent appreciation of the 
New Testament in relation to the Old. 

In a world at war the most obvious thing that forces itself on the 
attention of the reader of the New Testament is its pacific utter- 
ances and its picture of its Central Figure as the Prince of Peace. 


If anyone in simplicity and naivete adopts the New Testament 
as a manual of life he will be peculiar in such a world as ours. 

To summarize this analysis, the Brethren present the aspect of a 
party of pletistic Biblical mystics. Peculiarity is not something 
assumed nor is it something elaborately worked up. Peculiarity is 
the result of the fundamental underlying viewpoint. 

Such a clarification enables one to see the relationship of the 
Brethren to the possible World Council of Churches. The last 
thing expected of any group In an ecumenical church would be the 
denial of that group's true identity. The Brethren will remain as 
the party of pletistic mysticism. But without the Biblical element 
their right to a place within the on-going "Constantinlan" Church 
would be uncertain. But the Biblical element furnishes the formal 
element and the regulative norm of Dunker life and links us to the 
historical Christian Church. 

In these days of Armageddon-like struggle, we stand alone (al- 
most alone) in contemporary society. The struggle will have effects 
upon us which we shall bear for many decades. (In the mercy of 
God, may we leave effects upon the world!) There may be unex- 
pected by-products and extreme developments from the struggle. 

Hence there may be real need for us to define the roots of our 
peculiarity. It is particularly important that a people who boast 
they have no creed, examine their mental anchorage, in a day of 

There are two sources for careful examination. One Is our text- 
book — the New Testament. The other Is our own history, for its 
parallels and suggestive lessons. 



Few men have had more influence than Eld. Michael Frantz in determining 
the character and course of the Brethren. Michael Frantz came to Pennsylvania 
from Switzerland, September, 1727. He went at once into the comparative wil- 
derness of Lancaster County. Baptized by Peter Becker September 29, 1734 he 
was immediately made exhorter. In 1735 he was made elder of the Conestoga 
Church. This congregation was the third organized in America, but its posi- 
tion made it the real "mother church". Until his death in 1748 he presided over 
the congregation. His geographical location and his natural talents, together 
with his unusual force of character all combined to make him one of the most 
important men in Brethren annals. 

This writing of his is now extant in a single known copy. The book is pre- 
served in the vault of the German Society of Pennsylvania, Marshall and Sprirtg 
Garden Streets, Philadelphia. 

For these translated excerpts we acknowledge indebtedness to two of Eld. 
Frantz's descendants — Alvin Frantz Brightbill of Chicago, and Harry W. Frantz 
of Washington, D. C. The translation is the work of Mrs. Helen Harjes Muller. 

(Translation from German to English) 

The title-page is in script, the original evidently lost. This book, 
the only one in existence, has 48 pages. 











SAUR 1770 


Mirror and Examiner of Himself 
Verse 1-105 

1. Lord Jesus, Thou my A & O (Alpha & Omega) 
I now want to confess to Thee 

How imperfect I still am. 

2. At the outset I must confess, my Jesus, where I still am want- 
ing; my eyes that yet are dark, lighten Thou them with the 
halo of Thy grace. 

3. My ears, oh listen, are closed to hearing Thy teachings; if 
anyone prays, reads or teaches my ears are soon turned away. 

The Foundation and Covenant of Faith 

106. He who is in the ship of faith and remains attached to its an- 
chor, Jesus Christ, is calm until wind and waves have passed. 

107. He has strength through his faith and so holds to his anchor 
when soon again comes wind, waves and very severe storm. 

108. Help me, my anchor, Jesus Christ, who are founded upon 
love, truth and justice. Thy foundation remains firm in all 

Of the Congregation 

116. Hence I believe in a congregation that, chaste and pure, re- 
mains in the ship of faith. Another ship is now reported that 
is shut off from the world. 

117. This ship will be like the ark of Noah made tight and strong 
by faith. The ark passed over mountain and valley, yet only 
the pious were saved. 

Of Baptism by Water 

118. Thus baptism by water, through Thy sacrifice, buries our for- 
mer self, so that we live for Thee only, Jesus Christ. 

Of the Washing of Feet 
123. Thereupon when he is cleansed of sin and all sensual desires 
he lets his feet be washed as Christ bade His apostles do. 

131. The congregation of Christ is wholly clean, bathed in water, 
the Holy Ghost is its pledge and signet-ring. 

Of the Breaking of Bread 

132. It is built upon the soil of Christ, very firmly, and remains in 
His covenant; it offers the Lord's supper and breaks the 
bread prophesying the death of our Jesus. 

A M 



Of the Spiritual Shepherd's Of ice 

144. God has placed in the congregation apostles and prophets 
pure, evangelists, shepherds true, likewise bishops and elders. 

145. Helpers, rulers, servants full of humility and love, so the body 
may also be improved & the herd of Christ be well guarded. 

Of the Incarnation of Jesus 

158. Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art the Word, Thou hast opened 
the gates of Heaven, Thou, the eternal Word, hast become 
flesh. Thy seed is the Holy Ghost. 

159. The Holy Ghost sent from above brought this secret, as is 
known to all, the Virgin Mary accepted it in faith, hence she 
became pregnant not knowing any man. 

Of Spiritual Marriage 
166. In everything I believe Jesus Christ and also the Scriptures. 
God's congregation is one body, Christ the man, the congre- 
gation the woman. 

Of Outward Marriage 
187. Marriage ordained by God was wholly pure before the Fall 
of Man, for as then Adam was not led astray, as St. Paul 
clearly states. 

Of Training Children 
241. Married people beheving in the Lord, teach and punish their 
children, resist their wicked inclinations and train them in the 
ways of the Lord. 

Of Celestial Citizenship 
269. Blessed is he who is born anew, for he enjoys the law of Jesus 
Christ in evangelical countries and also has the citizenship of 

Of Worldly Citizenship 
282. Worldly citizenship enables us to complain to the worldly 
authorities of the wicked and their envy and quarrels in order 
to obtain worldly justice. 

Of Worldly Authorities 

287. Worldly princes in general rule here and are powerful; lords 

and more powerful yet the king and the emperor. 

Of Revenge and Self-Defense 

322. The old push suffering away from themselves; if persecution 

and suffering comes they want to hide. 


323. Saying this was not the proper time, but that it was the office 
of the authorities to punish the wicked and defend them. 
Of Worldly Warriors 

328. Moreover you have heard that Christ taught not to resist 
evil, neither with weapon nor sword. 

329. Hence nobody ever heard that Christ waged worldly war 
with weapons of war. His kingdom was not of this world. 
Of spiritual war. 

Of Spiritual War 
351. God, however, is a warrior, therefore we should be subject 
to Him having promised allegiance to the king. Lord God 
and the Son of Man. 

Of Taking Oaths 

367. Should we take oaths? Oh no, Oh no, in all eternity. In the 
Old Testament Lord God said to swear in support of truth. 

368. In the New Testament Christ clearly said, I say unto you, 
you shall not swear, upon no occasion, whether great or small. 

Of the Partaking of Blood 
380. Moreover the Bible says to refrain from the partaking of 
blood. Of that which has been choked and of that offered as 
sacrifice to idols. 

Of Sunday 
398. Sundays and holidays are permitted when there is no com- 
plaint; if the authorities decree work shall be dropped. 
Of the Sabbath 
408. The Sabbath is proclaimed quite clearly in the Old Testament ; 
in the New Testament, note and hear, the Son of Man is 
Lord of the Sabbath. 

Of the Inner Sabbath 

433. The outward Sabbath is a model of Jesus Christ and leads to 
our inner self, that we may rest In the Sabbath of Jesus. 
Of the Resurrection of the Dead 
449. The angel will soon tie fast the enemy, the devil and Satan, 
the dragon is an old snake, he ties it fast for a thousand years. 
507. Hallelujah to the bridegroom, the immaculate lamb of God. 
I close, Jesus, in Thy Grace, so that the enemy may not harm 
our souls. 


Pages 35-46. To the Congregation 

Of the Inner Union With God 

The congregation of the faithful is one with God, the Father, and 
His son, Jesus Christ. 

Here follow Bible quotations. 

Of the Outer Union 

From the inner union is born an outward congregation, for as 
God, our Heavenly Father, is merciful and perfect, so are His chil- 

More Bible quotations follow. 

Page 47 gives : "A hymn of brotherly love and communion," in 
14 verses. 

On page 48 an index is printed. 


I. Essays for publication are solicited on the following subjects: 

1. The Dunker Church in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

2. Dunkers as Publishers. 

3. The Contribution of the Brumbaugh Family to the 

Dunker Church. 

II. The essays may vary in length. Ten thousand words is a 
maximum length. 

III. Essays are to be submitted' to the Editor of Schwarzenau, 
3435 W. Van Buren St., Chicago by April 30, 1941. 

IV. The merits of all contributions are to be judged by a com- 
mittee of three. The committee is E. S. Moyer, Assistant Editor, 
Homer Sanger, a member of the Educational Board of the Church, 
and Dr. D. W. Kurtz, Pastor of the Church of the Brethren, La- 
Verne, California. 

V. For the best essay submitted on each of the three subjects 
and pubhshed in Schwarzenau, Mr. Judy of Chicago, President 
of the Juniata College Alumni Association, will award a prize of 
($25.00) twenty-five dollars. 

VI. The directing of the contest and the answering of inquiries 
is the duty of the Editor of Schwarzenau. 


Charles E. Zunkle 


Mrs. Delman S. Workman, following the death of her husband, 
told me the following interesting story, which is unrecorded his- 
torical data of interest to our church. When the book, "A HIS- 
NORTHEASTERN OHIO" was written, these facts evidently 
were overlooked, or else not uncovered. They supply an interesting 
and helpful bit of history in the beginnings of our church in that 

Joseph C. and Stephen Workman, Emigrants 

In the fall of 1812, two brothers, Joseph C. Workman and Ste- 
phen Workman, moved from somewhere in Alleghany County, 
Maryland. Their trek was made by covered wagon to the Western 
Frontier and they chose to settle at what is now Danville, Ohio. 
They camped on a hill south of the present town (the southern por- 
tion being first known as Buckeye City and was later incorporated 
with Danville) , but then, of course, no town was present. This spot 
evidently looked good to Joseph C. for he took up a homestead 
here, comprising one-fourth section (160 acres) of land. This 
homestead included the territory later known as Buckeye City, as 
well as the knoll on which he and his brother camped. 

The homestead was just well started when Joseph C. gave invita- 
tion to his neighbors to come to his home for song and prayer. He 
was of a very religious turn of life. These meetings were held on 
what is at present the William Mizer farm. They apparently grew 
in size and were later passed around to other homes of the neighbor- 
hood. Finally, the group became so large that it became imprac- 
tical to meet in private homes any longer. Joseph C. then decided 
to erect a new barn. A part of this he partitioned off and furnished 
with rough seats so that the growing services might be held there. 

It was at some later time that he gave one acre of ground for a 
church site. Another acre, adjoining, he gave as a free burial ground. 



This latter is now a part of the present Workman Cemetery. One 
of the eccentricities of Joseph C. is revealed in connection with the 
provision for the burial ground. There was some later effort to 
give the cemetery a name and he had no inclination for it to be 
named after him. More than this, he had religious scruples against 
the writing of any historical materials which involved the family, 
history or name. It may be that this modesty is in large part respon- 
sible for the fact that so little recognition has been given to his pio- 
neering efforts. 

On the acre of ground Joseph C. donated for a church site, the 
first Church of the Brethren in this area was erected. This church 
was the second organized church in Knox County, the first being 
the Danville Roman Catholic Church. The latter was organized in 
1819 and the former in 1822. Of course, the house of which we 
speak was not built until 1850. This church and church site served 
until 1870, when the North Bend house, of which we shall speak 
later, was built. The southern house was then abandoned. The 
North Bend site is the one still in use. But here begins another in- 
teresting chapter in this story. 

Solomon N. C. Workman 

Joseph C. Workman had a large family. If my information is 
correct, there were either twelve or thirteen children. One of these 
children was Solomon N. C. He first took up a homestead to the 
southeast of the location of his father. But, later, he became dis- 
satisfied with it and sold it to someone for a number of clocks. These 
he peddled and sold, in order to turn them into cash. Having dis- 
posed of this homestead, he went north of town (Buckeye City) 
and took up a claim of one thousand acres. This was all wooded 
land and was inhabited by "snakes and varmints." Some of this land 
he cleared. Then he offered some of it for sale at the very unusual 
sum of twenty-five cents per acre. This was an inducement for 
proper people to buy and settle. The portion he cleared for his 
home site is now the Frank Hochstetler farm. Among those who 
purchased land from Solomon N. C. were the following: John J. 
Workman, father of the late Elisha Workman; James Workman, 
father of Mrs. John J. Nyhart and Mrs. J. B. White, both of Dan- 
ville; and Richard Workman, father of C. Jay Workman. As one 
can see, the farms settled in this area were settled largely by various 


Workman relatives and the church became one made up in large 
part by the Workman families and those with whom they married. 

After Solomon N. C. had sold considerable land, he gave a lovely 
hill site for a church and cemetery. The church here built was the 
one now commonly called North Bend. The nickname, "North 
Bend," by the way, was given because of the fact that it was so set 
that the road made a bend around it. 

It may be noted, further, that Hosmer Workman, son of Sol- 
omon N. C, took as his home site the place now known as the Clem 
Horn farm. Here, also, timber had to be cleared away, but there 
was left standing, along the creek, the lovely grove which is known 
as Horn's Grove. This beautiful spot has been a chosen one for ice 
cream socials and picnic occasions for the members of the North 
Bend Church, as well as for others of the community. 

In every sense, these individuals of whom I have written were 
pioneers. They were not like many pioneers, in that they were moti- 
vated by Christian ideals and purposes. The imprint which they 
left upon these pioneer areas has lingered long and has been an 
important factor in their development. One may ponder the ques- 
tion. How long shall present Brethren ideals profoundly influence 
the life of this area? 

Burial Markers 

In the Workman Cemetery, south of Danville, may be found two 
fine large tombstones on which the following information is re- 


Joseph C. Workman — born Jan. 12, 1782 

died Jan. 13, 1852 

Wife — Sarah Consort died Mar. 4, 1857 


Stephen Workman — died Mar. 17, 1865 
age 97 yrs., 5 mo., 15 das. 

Wife — Jane Workman died Jan. 15, 1863 

age 82 yrs., 3 mo., 6 das. 

In the North Bend Cemetery is a similar type of tombstone mark- 
ing the burial place of Solomon N. C. Workman. 


(We are indebted to Miss Margaret Parker of Okeechobee, Florida for calling 
attention to the following racily told narrative. The paper story is probably 
familiar to most readers of this journal. The interesting thing is to find our well- 
known printer and Bible publisher in medical company.) 


Dr. Christopher Sower was a stout fellow, and while he stands 
out in history as one of the most versatile of medical men, he has 
recently been honored for accomplishments in an entirely different 
field. Sower was one of the few men who was "able to put it over 
Benjamin Franklin." Last spring he was honored for that some- 
what unusual accomplishment. 

Dr. Sower was born in Germany in 1693 and was graduated in 
medicine from the University of Halle. He landed in Philadelphia 
in 1724 and spent the remainder of his life there — much of it in 
what is now Germantown. 

Sower was a very busy practitioner, but believed in making every 
moment count, so he took on a side line in the form of a large 
farm, which he operated successfully. He also made a reputation 
as an author, turning out a number of learned treatises in both Eng- 
lish and German. 

These activities did not keep him sufficiently busy so he started in 
to make beautiful eight-day grandfather clocks. For this purpose, 
however. Dr. Sower changed his name to Mr. Christopher Souers, 
and visitors at the Library Company of Philadelphia will see a fine 
example of his handiwork. 

He also invented the cast iron stove, which was used so much 
before the self-feeding coal stove came in, and N. Hudson Moore, 
author of the "Old Clock Book" (F. A. Stokes Co.) has said that 
he was "an uncommonly gifted man, proficient in all his callings, 
and sufficiently distinguished to have left a record in them." 

Not only was Dr. Sower an author, but he became a printer, and 
recently Philadelphia celebrated the 200th anniversary of the open- 
ing of his first printing shop. The celebration took place at the 
Church of the Brethren in Germantown — the mother church of that 
denomination. From his press came the first European language 
Bible printed in America, the first entire German language news- 



paper in the Colonies, the Sower Almanac, and the first religious 
magazine to be printed in America. 

While Sower was actively engaged in printing, Benjamin Frank- 
lin cornered the Philadelphia paper market. This was too much 
for the thrifty German, and he declined to pay tribute to Mr. Frank- 
lin. He thereupon went out and built and very successfully operated 
a paper mill of his own, thereby giving the raucous laugh to Amer- 
ica's most eminent scientist. 


Vol. 20. No. 4. March 1, 1940 


William Beery 

{Continued from April Number, Volume I) 

The turn of the century, of course, did not mean an immediate 
change of hymn books or the manner of singing in the church serv- 
ices. Some of the hymn books then in use were retained for many 
years to come. All of them up to this time, except one, entitled "The 
Christian's Duty," which was published in 1791, were in the Ger- 
man language. This, the first English Dunker hymn book was pub- 
lished by Peter Leibert, who, when the Sower plant in Germantown, 
which had been confiscated, was put on the market, bought it, and 
with this equipment opened a printing house In 1784. The title page 
reads as follows : The Christian's Duty, Exhibited in a Series of 
HYMNS, Collected from Various Authors, Designed for the Wor- 
ship of God, and for the Edification of Christians, Recommended to 
the Serious of all denominations, by the Fraternity of Baptists. 

No doubt this edition was quite extensively used, especially by 
those who preferred the English, for perhaps the first half of the 
nineteenth century. Prior to this the Psaltersplel was the hymn 
book in general use by the Brethren. 

The next Brethren hymn book was published in 1869, edited by 
James Quinter, at Covington, Ohio.. This contained 818 English 
hymns and 303 German. Following are a few lines from the au- 


thor's preface: "The relation that the hymn book stands in to the 
singing in the church, is such, that gives it a place next in importance 
to the Bible, among Christians. . . . The hymn book is an impor- 
tant auxiliary in promoting worship and edification." 

Concerning the hymnody of the Brethren during the first half of 
the nineteenth century not much definite information is available, 
but that there were on the market a variety of hymn books is ev- 
idenced by copies of various editions that have been preserved by 
the descendants of those who used them generations ago; and by 
the same token the different kinds of singing school books that are 
being kept as relics, published at different times, we know that much 
of the material, especially tunes, became sources of help in their 
worship services. The title pages of some of these indicate that they 
were made with this in view. Quoting from one published in 1839 : 
"Evangelical music consisting of psalm and hymn tunes." In 1853 : 
"A collection of psalm tunes, anthems and chants, selected from the 
most popular works in Europe and America, designed for the use of 
churches, singing schools and societies." 

So we see that for those who could and did take advantage of it, 
much first-class material, as well as good teaching, were to be had. 

The Singing School 

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, or before, there had 
come into existence an institution which, during that century, did 
much for the development of vocal music in general, and especially 
for the song service in the church. And that was nothing more nor 
less than the country singing school. 

One of the pioneers in this field, though perhaps not the first, 
was Lowell Mason, whose name appears with more hymn tunes in 
the general run of hymnals than that of any other man. Mr. Mason 
was a native of Massachusetts, born near Boston, where he began 
his musical career. Even a brief writeup of his musical activities 
cannot be given here; suffice it to say that from young manhood he 
was a diligent and courageous student, became a skillful and be- 
loved teacher and director in the field of music, and may well be 
called the father of music in the public schools of this country. In 
the way of conducting singing schools, musical institutes and normal 
schools, Mr. Mason was followed by some of his pupils, such as 
William B. Bredbury, Geo. F. Root and others of national fame. 


The men above mentioned were not members of the Brethren 
church, but it was their work that gave impetus to the movement. It 
was in these singing schools, especially in the rural communities, 
where those who became the leaders of the singing in the church 
obtained the knowledge and training which qualified them for this 
important part of the worship service of the church. 

In the early days of the nineteenth century but few, if any, of the 
country churches had hymn books with tunes. So those who led the 
singing had to learn tunes somewhere, and the singing school was 
about the only source of help. Some may have picked up tunes by 
hearing others sing them, but even that points back to the singing 
school. In the books used in the singing school the words were set 
to music, and it was there the leaders could learn to read music and 
store their minds with tunes suited to the various hymn meters. 

Such a thing as conference between minister and song leader con- 
cerning the hymns to be used for any certain church service was not 
thought of in those days; at least not ordinarily. It was not an un- 
usual occurrence then when several preachers would be seated on 
the bench back of the table, and nobody knowing which one would 
announce the first hymn, or preach first (usually more than one 
spoke). Thus, the song leader, in order to be prepared to suit the 
tunes to the hymns necessarily, to avoid probable mistakes and em- 
barrassment, had to have a variety of tunes parked in his memory 
box from which to select, on the spur of the moment, one that would 
fit the meter of the hymn announced. Otherwise, in case a long 
meter tune was chosen for a short or common meter hymn the inev- 
itable result followed and another choice had to be made. Not- 
withstanding the frequency of such episodes many of the Brethren 
were not sure that it was right for Brethren to attend singing schools, 
or teach them, as is evidenced by minutes of Annual Meeting. It 
took a quarter of a century to get from Annual Conference even a 
conditional permit to attend or teach singing schools. During this 
period of time at least five queries were sent to Annual Conference 
.concerning the propriety of brethren attending or teaching singing 

Queries Concerning Singing Schools 

1825. — ^Whether a brother may teach singing schools: Was con- 
sidered, that the musical schools as generally conducted have noth- 


ing to do with the service of God, and that a brother should teach 

1838. — Whether it is proper to hold singing schools in our meet- 
ing houses. — Chiefly considered that they are no proper place for 
holding singing schools therein. 

1840. — Can a brother be allowed to teach singing schools on 
Sundays, or take money for the same? — Considered, that much as 
we are in favor of correct singing, we still think it is better for a 
brother not to teach singing schools. 

1857. — Is it agreeable to the gospel for brethren to teach sing- 
ing schools? — Answer: We consider it best for brethren not to 
teach singing schools on the Sabbath, or at night. 

1862. — Is it allowed by the brethren in Annual Council for the 
members of the church to attend singing schools on Sundays, or at 
night, or in the week? — ^Answer: While we would caution our 
members, especially the young, against the abuses of singing schools, 
we would not absolutely forbid them if conducted orderly, and if 
they do not conflict with the time of preaching. 

It may be a little hard for the young people of this day and age 
to understand the whys and wherefores of the answers to the above 
queries, but it must be remembered that one hundred or even sev- 
enty-five years ago conditions were not what they are now. There 
were some reasons for the caution exercised by the Brethren at that 
time, as intimated in the answer to the 1862 query. 

The Brethren's Tune and Hymn Book 

Up to this time the Brethren did not have a hymnal (words and 
music). Nor was the time yet quite ripe for such a book to find an 
unchallenged entrance into the service of the church. In 1872, two 
brethren, Benjamin Funk, of Singer's Glen, Va., and Henry R. Hol- 
singer, of Dale City, Pa., took a venture, and, as an independent 
enterprise, published such a book, under the name, "The Brethren's 
Hymn and Tune Book." They succeeded in introducing this collec- 
tion into some of the Brethren congregations. 

Forthwith some of the Brethren reacted in accord with their 
sense of propriety in the matter, and, at the Annual Conference of 
1873, held in Holsinger's home town. Dale City, Pa., there was sub- 
mitted this query: "Do the Brethren not think it proper to exert 


their influence against the admission into the church of the new 
hymn book with notes?" 

Answer: "We advise all districts and churches to keep them out 
of the church in public worship." 

Notwithstanding this decision, some congregations wanted to use 
them and took a chance to ask permission to do so. Accordingly, a 
query was sent to the 1 874 Conference, held in Macoupin County, 
111., at the house of Joseph Philbrun. 

"Whereas the Annual Meeting of 1873 advises all the churches 
to keep the 'Brethren's Hymn and Tune Book' out of the churches 
in time of public worship; this District Council humbly asks the 
Annual Meeting of 1874 to reconsider the said query of 1873, and 
allow District churches that wish to do so, to use them even in pub- 
lic worship." Answer: "The Annual Meeting thinks best upon the 
consideration of said query, to let this subject remain as it was de- 
cided at last Annual Meeting." 

The First Brethren Hymnal 

The first Brethren Hymnal was published in 1879, by the Breth- 
ren Publishing House, at Huntingdon, Pa. The credit and honor 
attaching to the editing and compiling of the first Dunker hymnal 
belongs to the late John C. Ewing, then a member of the Church of 
the Brethren, but later affiliated with the Brethren (Progressive) 
church. Mr. Ewing was also the first Brethren teacher of music in 
the Brethren's Normal College (now Juniata). Before the opening 
of the fall session of this school in 1878 he tendered his resignation. 
Then, for many years he "filled many important positions as super- 
visor of music in pubHc schools." His last years were spent in Day- 
ton, Ohio, where, after several years of invalidism and physical 
suffering, he passed to his eternal rest, Oct. 29, 1937. 

This book contains all the English hymns in the Brethren's Hymn 
Book, and 300 tunes. 

The next year (1880) the Brethren at Work Co., at Lanark, 
III., put out a little book entitled "Bible School Echoes and Sacred 
Hymns," compiled by David F. Eby. This contains 110 hymns and 
97 tunes. It was intended especially for Sunday-school use. 


The Second Brethren Hymnal 

The second Brethren Hymnal was compiled under the direction 
of General Conference of the Church of the Brethren, by two com- 
mittees, appointed by Conference; a Hymn Committee, consisting 
of Eld. D. L. Miller, Eld. L. T. Holsinger and Eld. H. B. Brum- 
baugh; and a Music committee, consisting of Geo. B. Holsinger, 
J. Henry Showalter and William Beery. To brother Holsinger be- 
longs the credit for doing the bulk of the work of editing and com- 
piling the collection, indexing, etc. 

Hymnal — Church of the Brethren 

In compliance with a paper from Northern Indiana to Annual 
Conference at Winona Lake, Ind., in 1922, a committee was ap- 
pointed whose duty it became to revise the hymnal of 1901. This 
committee, as first appointed, consisted of Eld. J. H. Moore, Eld. 
Jno. S. Flory, E. M. Studebaker, F. G. Muir, E. B. Hoff, Cora V. 
Wise, Edyth Hillery Hay. With this committee was associated the 
General Music Committee of the church; Cora M. Stably, William 
Beery and Eld. J. B. Miller. Eld. T. T. Myers was later appointed 
to take the place of J. H. Moore, resigned. 

The meetings of this committee covered several days and eve- 
nings of strenuous, conscientious and exacting work. Every hymn 
was carefully and prayerfully considered, as to its merits considered 
from the standpoint of its literary, theological, social and worship 
value. Much attention was given to the mating of tunes with the 
hymns; in many instances tests were made by the singing of the 
hymns to the tunes under consideration for them. 

Instrumental Music 

It is a well known fact that the introduction of instrumental mu- 
sic into the services of the Dunker church, until recent years, was 
looked upon with grave misgivings, and prohibited, as far as pos- 
sible by the councils of the church. It is not the purpose here to dis- 
cuss the advantages or disadvantages, the proprieties or impropri- 
eties connected with this feature of the hymnody of the church, but 
it seems apropos as a part of the subject under consideration. The 
following Queries with their answers and two speeches reflect the 
attitude of Annual Conference and the difference of opinion on the 
part of some of the brethren relative to the matter. 


1852. — Has a brother a right to have, or keep In his house, costly 
musical instruments? — Considered that members could lay out their 
money to better advantage. 

1857. — How Is It considered for brethren, and especially minis- 
tering brethren, to send their children from home to have them 
taught music, and to procure pianos for them? — Brethren should 
not do so. 

1866. — Is it considered conforming to the world for ministering 
brethren or others, to have musical Instruments, such as melodeons, 
pianos, etc., in their houses, and for their children, who are members 
of the church, to spend their precious time In playing on such Instru- 
ments? — Considered that It is tending too much in that direction, 
the world being largely engaged in It, and we have no example in 
the New Testament that it was indulged In by Christians. Yet If 
strictly confined to sacred music, we cannot positively forbid It, but 
advise all the beloved members to deny themselves of this Indulgence, 
believing that it is attended with dangerous consequences. 

1870. — Is It right for brethren or sisters to have musical instru- 
ments In their houses, such as melodeons and organs? — We think. It 
not expedient to have them In our houses when they cause offense, 
and we think under such circumstances every brother and sister that 
have them ought to be admonished in love to put them away. 

1873. — Is It agreeable with the gospel, or the old order of the 
Brethren for members to have musical Instruments in their houses, 
such as organs or a fiddle for their amusement, or for the amuse- 
ment of the young people, and to play on them on the Lord's day 
after they return from worship? — We think It unauthorized by the 
gospel and clearly opposed to the order of the old Brethren, and the 
doctrine of self-denial, and not calculated to promote vital Chris- 

Some of the speeches made at Annual Meeting on this subject 
would make interesting reading (which were many and various). 
The two which follow must suffice here. 

Speeches on the Above Query 

1. 'When I am at home I suppose there is not a member of the 
church who has a musical instrument, and they are not in favor of It. 
But suppose some of the members were to get them and we visited 


them again and again and admonished them and they will not heark- 
en unto the church what remedy does this answer give, if it does 
not make the matter a test of fellowship? When we look back sixty 
years (1817) in the history of the church, as I can, where did we 
find musical instruments then? Only among the people of the world. 
Now when they are coming among our people why are we so won- 
derfully afraid to make a decision against the growing evil?' 

2. 'You can put your finger on no passage in the New Testament 
where the use of musical instruments is forbidden, and shall we then 
tear them away from our children when they are accustomed to 
them; when their most hallowed associations cluster around them; 
shall we take out our cabinet organs and put them in some tenement 
house, and allow our children to go there and play and sing, or worse 
than that, drive them off to some place where their associations are 
of doubtful character? However, if our fellow elders who had 
musical instruments in their houses before I had, will put them away 
or burn them, I will put mine away also; but I do not see the propri- 
ety of one or two members being requested to put them away be- 
cause in an adjoining church they make trouble. Are organs worse 
than great looking-glasses, fine buggies and fine harness, against 
which the brethren legislated until they had to tolerate them? No, 
they belong to superfluity, that is where they belong; and when we 
are willing to lay aside all superfluity we may dispense with musical 
instruments. It is true we are to praise God with psalms and hymns 
and spiritual songs, but if we can sing in the right spirit with our 
children in our house, who shall forbid it?' 

Notwithstanding all the handicaps mentioned above the singing 
in the congregations of the Brethren was generally comparatively 
good, often above the average, as expressed by H. R. Holsinger in 
the following quotation from his History of the Tunkers and the 
Brethren Church : 

"A steady, strong voice from the deacons' bench raises a tune, 
and soon the whole congregation join in the hearty singing. This 
was always the most attractive part of the old-time Tunker service. 
No congregation ever sang better. It was a beautiful, spiritual 
worship, and the sound of an instrument in one of these old-time 
Tunker congregations, where every voice made 'melody unto the 
Lord,' would have seemed a discord and a profanation." 


"One who never heard a congregation of Tunkers sing the old 
hymns just before the sermon, would find it difficult to form an ad- 
equate idea of the quiet, deep fervency and the solemn earnestness 
with which they were rendered." 

So, the hymn ministry in the Church of the Brethren has contin- 
ued its service through the years. In spite of handicaps in the way 
of mistakes, indifference, lack of education and facilities, it has kept 
pace with other lines of endeavor. Still, there is room for improve- 
ment. It would be a wonderful help to congregational singing if 
there could be arranged occasional, or periodical, meetings for 
hymn singing with trained choruses or individuals as leaders; the 
prime object, of course, being, not alone to develop good singing but, 
most of all, to familiarize the worshippers with the hymns they 
sing, get fixed in their minds the content of the words they sing, and 
make them their own. The further development of our hymn min- 
istry is in the hands of those upon whom the leadership falls. Con- 
secration of talent and faithful and correct use of it will meet the 

Brethren Hymn Writers and Composers 

The names of the eighteenth century writers have already been 
mentioned, so far as records show. In the old hymn books the names 
of the authors are not mentioned. In the nineteenth century, and up 
to this time, the Brethren authors and composers are comparatively 
few. This is not to be wondered at when it is remembered that until 
within the last half century our people lacked educational advan- 

However, among the members of the Church of the Brethren, in 
recent years, there have been those who were endowed with literary, 
poetic and musical talent and instinct, and a considerable number of 
their hymns and tunes have found their way into recognition. Since 
the names of these appear in connection with their compositions 
in our hymnals they are not mentioned here. 

In this connection it should be said, too, that among those who 
have to do with the hymnody of the church, and are equally worthy 
of recognition, are those who do not write hymns or compose music, 
but whose contribution comes in the way of teaching singing, voice 
culture, hymnology, harmony and instrumental music, lead congre- 
gational singing, direct choirs, render special music, sing in choirs, 


Germantown and Philadelphia Congregations 

For the following interesting notes concerning the music in the 
early years of the Germantown and Philadelphia congregations we 
are indebted to brethren G. N. Falkenstein and Rowland Howe. 

Germantown. — This congregation had a small organ in the Sun- 
day school in 1892. It was not used in the church services. From 
1892 to 1900 they had no choir. The Brethren hymn books and 
hymnals were used. No information on what preceded or followed. 

Philadelphia. — In 1818 a Mr. Mitchel, a leader in singing and 
seller of musical instruments donated to the church $20.00 to buy 
music books, for use in his own room, where he, supposedly, taught 
singing. These music lessons were given either in the old school- 
house or in the new church. 

1819. — A Mr. John Heisler put 85 hymn books in the church, 
sold 48 of them at a profit of fifteen cents and turned it over to the 
church treasury. The rest were probably sold at cost. It was the 
rule in those days for the members who could afford it to own their 
hymn books. This precluded the necessity of "lining" the hymn. 

1873. — This year the first organ was purchased. There was no 
organist fee until 1897. 

In 1882 a request to use a piano in Sunday School was tabled. 

In 1885 a chorister was appointed. His request to use a cornet 
was tabled. The same year an organist was appointed, though the 
instrument had been used for 12 years. 

In 1891 anthem singing in the church was discussed but no action 
taken. The same year, out of the organization of Sr. and Jr. Chris- 
tian Endeavor Societies came Sr. and Jr. choirs. Also a pipe organ 
installed in the Carlisle and Dauphin Street church. 

In 1922 a new organ was put in at a cost of $4,300. Rev. T. T. 
Myers, pastor, gave an address on "Art in Religion." 

Up to the year 1931 $6,593.20 was paid for organ service; noth- 
ing for leadership until 1891. 

Taking it all in all, we have reason to view the hymnody of the 
Church of the Brethren with a good degree of satisfaction and pride, 
and look ahead with bright hopes for great strides in the growth 
and improvement, not only in the quality of hymns and music in our 
church services, but in the effective use of the same. 


A Historical and Instrumental Survey of Church 
OF THE Brethren Practices 


Robert L. Strickler 


The Problem 

The writer has had a feeling for sometime that there is need for 
a careful study of the ways or procedures being used by ministers 
of the Church of the Brethren to prepare prospective members for 
church membership. The following factors have influenced the 
writer's choice of this problem for study: 

1. Observation of many professing Christians and Church mem- 
bers reveals the lack of or the loss of a vital sustaining Christian 
experience. There is apparent lack concerning: What it means to be 
a Christian and a member of the church. Appreciation for, and 
loyalty to the church is at low ebb in many quarters. 

2. Retrospection upon the inadequate manner in which the author 
was prepared for church membership fifteen years ago. 

3. The opportunity to observe an adequate method of preparing 
young people for church membership. 

4. Acquaintance with a similar study made by a friend of another 

5. The desire to make a study which would not only be profitable 
to the author, but might also be of some value to the work of the 

6. A personal interest in evangelism and a desire to know the 
best procedure of preparing prospective members for membership. 
There is a conviction that something needs to be done in this field 
but we must realize that nothing can be wisely attempted without 
knowing the facts. 



The Objectives of the Study 

We have five major objectives in this study. First, we wish to 
set forth the historical background and aspects of the problem. Sec- 
ond, we wish to present a clear view of the current procedures in the 
matter of preparation for church membership. Third, we wish to 
get a picture of how they prepare for church membership in the 
Church of the Brethren Missions. Fourth, we wish to acquaint our- 
selves with the way other denominations do the same task and with 
what results. Fifth, it is hoped that this study will be an aid to pas- 
tors in pointing out to them a way, or ways by which they may more 
effectively execute an important part of their work. 

Method of Study 

The method of study attempts to combine the historical and in- 
strumental survey approach to the problem. The writer is of the 
conviction that the historical aspects of the problem are essential 
to the proper perspective and interpretation of present day pro- 
cedures and trends. Chapter II presents the studies of the past ten 
years which bear a relation to the problem at hand. Chapter III is 
entirely historical. Chapter IV presents and explains the major sur- 
vey instrument of this study. Chapters V, VI, VII are studies of 
respective parts of the questionnaire, with historical material in- 
cluded where such can make a contribution. Chapter VIII is a sur- 
vey of our mission field procedures with a copy of the letter used to 
acquire this information. Chapter IX is a study of some other de- 
nominations and their procedure of preparation for church mem- 
bership. The method used for this part of the study is explained in 
the chapter itself. At the end of each chapter there are summary 
statements while Chapter X presents a Summary, and the general 
conclusions of the study as a whole. 


To my knowledge no other study of this nature has been 
made for the Church of the Brethren. There are several related 
studies which give point and purpose to this particular study and 
have been instrumental in motivating this work. It is felt that these 


studies are of sufficient relevance to merit treatment in this separate 

Study 2 : Church Membership Standards. 

A study carried out by Dr. F. F. Mueller^ under the direction of 
the research department of Yale Divinity School and in co-opera- 
tion with ten theological seminaries and their alumni (823 question- 
naires answered) reveals the following: 

90% of clergy place the following responsibilities on incoming 

1. Attendance at worship services regularly, 

2. Support of the church financially. 

3. Support of the church through personal service. 

4. Living a clean life in personal morals. 

60% of clergy place the following additional obligations upon 

5 To be ethical in conduct of business or work, whether employer 
or employee. 

6. To be active in works of charity. 

7. To take active part in organizations of the church. 

8. To share in movements for the upbuilding of the community. 
Only 53.6%. 

9. Insist upon upholding creeds or beliefs and practices of the church. 
53% 10. Ask members to share in movements and organizations for 

the uplifting of the underprivileged groups in society. 

52% 11. Want members to be different in conduct of private affairs 
and in morals from people who are not members of a church. 

At least 50% of the clergy ask persons uniting with their church 
to assume all eleven of the obligations listed above. Many, however, 
do not seem to make these obligations specific. 

Concerning preparatory classes the following summary is given: 

Some church bodies (Episcopalians and Lutherans) have the prac- 
tice of confirmation, and in such cases, periods of instruction precede 
membership. Opportunities are offered in these classes for emphasiz- 
ing the duties of church members .... Some men of other groups, 
such as Baptists and Congregationalists, are also giving periods of 
instruction prior to admission to church membership. This, however, is 
not practiced by all pastors and even where church membership classes 
are held, the receiving of instruction is not always made compulsory 
upon the prospective church members. In any case, according to the 
testimony of ministers in the interviews, classes are primarily for 
young people, and adults seldom attend. 

On the basis of this study it is pointed out that many ministers 
rationalize their practice by saying that it is not necessary to be so 

1, Mueller, F. F. and Hartshorne, Hugh, Ethical Dilemmas of Ministers (New 
York: Charles Scribners, 1937), pp. 81-85. 


detailed in matters of responsibilities. Their feeling is that: "the 
only requirement needed is an emphasis on Christian living or an 
acceptance of Jesus Christ, and these other duties will necessarily 
follow." This may, or may not be true. 

Some men, however, are dissatisfied with the present state of 
church membership and feel that standards should be raised. Sev- 
eral express themselves as follows : 

I believe the church should be stricter in its membership require- 
ments. True, we cannot read the hearts, but I feel the present day 
laxity on the part of members is due to the laxity in church standards. 

I would welcome a more generally recognized instruction period for 
adults, and a probationary period before reception into membership 
by the right hand of fellowship. People easily slip away from the 
church because they get in too easily. 

I believe we should make more of induction of members into the 
church and emphasize responsibilities. Church membership is too easy. 

"A few clergymen," it is suggested, "have about reached the 
conclusion that there should be no church membership whatsoever, 
and that there is nothing distinctive about the obligations or life of 
people in the church." The views are indicated in the statements that 
follow : 

I now feel that church membership has no distinctive obligation. 
The lines of distinction are broken down. The church should be more 
democratic. Those are truly members who show interest. We should 
not have church membership. 

Church membership lists are rather meaningless. I have been won- 
dering if we would not have done better to have kept our "ecclesiasti- 
cal societies" and to have abolished our "churches." The distinction 
between the church members and non-church member is in a vast 
number of cases a distinction without a difference. 

The conclusions drawn from the above are these : 

1. It seems that many clergy not only fail to interpret the obliga- 
tions of church membership in specific terms, but justify themselves 
in doing so. 

2. Some have reached the point where they would like to see church 
membership done away with altogether. 

3. Others prefer to see the standards and requirements for church 
membership raised. 

This study is very significant in that it shows the "spirit of our 
age" in this matter of church membership. It is upon this broad 
and general background that the writer set forth to survey the pres- 
ent practices and attitudes among Church of the Brethren Clergy 


relative to: "Preparing Prospective Members for Church Mem- 

Within the past ten years five studies have been made by Bethany 
students dealing with the religious experiences, beliefs, and atti- 
tudes of youth. These studies are significant and should be presented 
here as background for this present study. 

Study 2 : A Survey of the Experiences and Attitudes of Five Hun- 
dred Intermediates.^ 

Chapter eight of this survey deals with "Becoming Church Mem- 
bers." The aim in this was to determine ( 1 ) what percentage of 
adolescents answering the questionnaire are members of the church, 
and (2) why they joined the church and what effect it had on them. 

We present here his summary of data with observations and 
recommendations on this point. 

Summary of Data: 

Of the 195 boys answering the question as to whether they were 
members of the church, 161 answered in the affirmative. Eighteen of 
that number did not state the age of joining. In answering this same 
question, 244 out of 294 girls say they are members of the church. 
Only three did not give the age of joining. 

Eighty-six boys, and one hundred forty-seven girls say that joining 
the church made little change in their lives. While 58 boys and 84 
girls say they experienced a great change when they united with the 
church. Eight boys and thirteen girls say that joining the church made 
no change in their lives. 

The number who joined the church because of an inward conviction 
are, boys, 127, girls, 206; because of the desire of the parents, 20 boys 
and 28 girls. Six boys and eight girls joined because of fear. 
Observations : 

1. It is significant to note that those filling out the questionnaire are 
not only Sunday School pupils, but also the majority of them are mem- 
bers of the church. The percentage of boys who are members is 83, 
and girls 84. 

2. The answers to the question with reference to what effect becom- 
ing a member of the church has, show evidence of the trends in re- 
ligious education and methods of evangelism. Becoming a member 
of the church made little change in 56 per cent of the boys and 60 per 
cent of the girls. Approximately one-third say that they experienced 
•a great change in their lives by becoming members of the church. It 
is interesting to note that 7 per cent of the boys and 6 per cent of the 
girls experienced no change. These percentages show that coming 
into the fellowship of the church is not the great emotional experience 
that it was a generation or two ago. Since most of these intermediates 
come up through Sunday Schools, affiliating with the church is a 
natural step for them to take. Coming in through this method one 

2. Peters, Raymond, Thesis 1936, pp. 63-67. • 


would not expect such a catastrophic change. The change would be 
more gradual, especially since the age of joining the church is much 
lower than it was twenty-five years ago. 

3. According to this study the majority of the boys and girls are 
affiliating themselves with the church during the junior age and first 
year intermediates. In other words, from the ages nine to twelve. The 
year in which the largest number of girls joined the church is 11, while 
more of the boys joined at the age of 12. 

4. It is a wholesome sign to know that 82 per cent of the boys and 
86 per cent of the girls joined the church because of an inward motiva- 
tion. On the contrary, fear led a very small number to join the church 
— only 2 per cent of the boys and 3 per cent of the girls. According to 
these figures, motivation to join the church is on a high level. How- 
ever, it is difficult to determine how much "following the crowd" had 
to do in helping these boys and girls to decide to join the church. 

Recommendations : 

1. A study should be made in smaller and larger groups with an at- 
tempt to discover why over 50 per cent of both boys and girls expe- 
rience little change in their lives. If the reason or reasons could be 
determined, teaching and guidance could be much more effective. 
This information might be secured by almost any teacher or leader. 
If teachers are to be effective they must know the problems, needs 
and aspirations of their pupils. 

2. More teaching on the meaning of church membership should be 
given, keeping in mind the age at which the majority join the church. 
This emphasis should be put in the curriculum of the junior age group. 
Some pastors are conducting classes for all persons who are consid- 
ering membership within the near future. This should not be a sub- 
stitute for what is done in the classes, but an additional endeavor. 

3. If a new and higher type of life is to be expected from adolescents, 
the personality, life, and program of Christ must loom large in their 
minds. They must see Christ's teaching as it applies to the needs and 
problems of modern boys and girls. This can be done more effectively 
if we get the type of teachers referred to in the preceding chapter. 

Remember that early adolescence is the time of making great de- 
cisions. At this time many life habits are formed. Thus, if the inter- 
mediate boy and girl can be properly motivated much will have been 
done toward building better character, which is an important factor in 
building a better world. 

Recommendation number two has special significance for this 
present study. The early age of church affiliation along with the 
effect of this, calls for increased effort to make church membership 
more meaningful. 

Study 3 : A Study of the Religious Experiences of Young People. 

This study is based on 150 questionnaires sent out to young peo- 
ple between 18-24, the majority of whom were college students in 

3. Brunk, Esther, Thesis 1931, pp. 1-5; 13-16, p. 49. 


Mennonite, Brethren, and Church of God institutions. We present 
two parts of this study which have special bearing on our problem. 

Causes of Uniting with the Church 

Female Male Total 

1. Sense of guilt 28 44 72 

2. Fear induced by stories, songs, etc. 8 16 24 

3. Example of chums 23 31 54 

4. Persuasion of parents 12 17 29 

5. Influence of Evangelist 24 44 68 

6. Desire to obey Christ 49 60 103 

Age Chart 
Age of Baptism Number 

g ******* 7 

g ********** _ ^ ^ _ JQ 

IQ ********** ^ ^ _ ^ JQ 

11 **************** 1g 

1 2 ******************************** 'JO 7c f,.,. \/ 

1 -2 ****************** 10 

\A ******************** 20 

j5 *********** Y\ 

16 ******** 8 57 or 5^ 

j7 ***** 5 

jg ***** 5 

2P **** _ _ _ ^ 4 

20 ***.!!!!!!!!!.!!!.!!!!!!!!!!!!..!!!!!!!!!! ! 3 

21 * 1 18 


We give now the interpretation of the numerical facts with cer- 
tain recommendations as presented by the author of this study. 

The first fact of interest is that only 72 out of the 155 felt a sense of 
guilt — not quite one half of the total. Stating this negatively, 78 were 
not yet in their teens, 38 of whom checked the influence of chums, 
parents, or evangelist as the cause of their uniting with the church. 
Thirty-five who felt no sense of guilt, were over twelve years of age, 
of whom 22 checked factors of influence, making a total of sixty in the 
78 who came into the church largely because of influence. Of the 150, 
68 were influenced by the evangelist, which is nearly one half of the 
total. Fifty-four, or more than one third, were influenced by chums, 
while twenty-nine were persuaded by parents. However, lest these 
figures look too ominous, it must be said that 77 checked factors of 
influence along with either a sense of guilt or a desire to obey Christ. 
Only thirty checked nothing but factors of influence, while forty-three 
checked only sense of guilt or desire to obey Christ. 

The lack of the sense of guilt and the largeness of the factors of 
influence can be accounted for by the facts pointed out in the age 
chart, namely, that exactly one-half, or seventy-five, came into the 
church before they were in their teens. They grew under church in- 


fluence, coming into the organic church as soon as they felt the social 
pressure in favor of uniting with the church, and before they had gone 
willfully into sin. Entering the church was chiefly due to the influence 
of teaching, preaching, and personalities both single and collective. 

The second significant fact is that one hundred three, or more than 
two-thirds, checked the desire to obey Christ. This again shows the 
susceptibility of both the Junior and the Intermediate to influence, the 
influence of an ideal here not bodily present. Forty-four of the one 
hundred three were under thirteen, while fifty-nine were over twelve 
years of age. Probably, Christ was to them a very real and ideal hero, 
whom they wished to obey, and social pressure made it very easy for 
them to confess Christ as the supreme hero of their lives. To the one- 
third who did not check the desire to obey Christ, uniting with the 
church was mostly due to social pressure and influence. The signifi- 
cance of uniting with the church in its relation to Christ was probably 
not realized. 

Practical Conclusions: 

1. These facts certainly should indicate to the teacher of religion 
the age period when the individual is most easily influenced to come 
into the church. It should be the purpose of all concerned in the 
religious development of the child to influence him so that he will 
wish to dedicate his life to Christ, but not to the extent that he is not 
allowed to take the initiative part with his own will. 

2. It is not to be expected that the young child will feel any great 
sense of guilt for committed sins, and the teacher should not try to 
arouse this in him, for he has not as yet gone willfully into sin. Only 
as he grows older will he realize the burden of an inherent sinful nature, 
when he will need to be taught how to overcome his tendency to do 
evil. It is then that his ideal hero may become his ever present friend 
and Saviour. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on the work of the 
Holy Spirit and His ability to save the child from growing into sin. 

3. This is the time to give the child other heroes, also, as ideals, 
especially those who have followed Christ as their pattern. Mission- 
ary heroes and the characters of church history can be used to great 
advantage for this purpose. 

Another part of this study was a "Present Estimate of Initial 

Female Male Total 

1. The reality of the first experience still 
strengthens me. 

2. The formality and nothingness of it disgusts me. 

3. I understood the meaning of joining the church. 

4. Did not check any in this section. 

Interpretation of Numerical Facts: 

Sixty-five, less than one half, consider that their initial experience 
was worth while in that the memory of it is still a source of satisfac- 
tion. Twenty-four were under thirteen, while forty-one were more 














than twelve years of age. Subtracting 65 from the total, we deduct that 
85 did not have any memorable or vital experience. Fifty-two of these 
were less than thirteen years of age, while thirty-three were more than 
twelve. That only fifteen stated that the formality of the act is dis- 
gusting to them, probably indicates that the remainder of the 85 have 
never as yet given it any serious consideration. More than likely it 
was such a mere formality, a thing so little understood at the time, 
that it has not challenged the rationalization of their adult minds. It 
will be noticed that only 65 checked that they understood the meaning 
of the act of uniting with the church. While it is not to be expected that 
the child is able to comprehend to the fullest extent, yet there should 
have been enough understanding of it to make him remember that act 
with satisfaction. The fact that 70 neither marked satisfaction nor 
disgust in relation to the act would further seem to indicate that the 
act was a mere formality, a customary rite which was and is taken for 
granted, without regard to the spiritual experience which it was sup- 
posed to symbolize. 

Practical Conclusions: 

1. Spiritual experience must be more strongly emphasized, for it 
is the basis of fruit bearing. (This does not mean ecstatic emotionalism, 
or undue expression of feelings, but rational acceptance of Christ's 
way of life.) Since over half of our members come into the church 
v/ithout having had any vital experience or any adequate understand- 
ing of the meaning of the act, it is small wonder that fruits are not 
found when fruits are expected. For this reason, to the end that fruits 
may be forth coming, the chief objective of all teaching should be to 
produce spiritual experience, sincere willingness to be crucified with 
Christ, to lose one's life that the cause of Christ may grow on the earth. 
"To know him and the power of his resurrection" (Phil. 3:10) is the 
only experience which admits us into the body of Christ. 

2. A more thorough course of teaching should be given to the child 
before he is taken into the church, and effort should be put forth to 
ascertain that he has had a rational experience and understanding of 
the act. After he is in the church, all care should be given to the "babe 
in Christ" to aid his growth from "grace to grace." 

Summary Statement: 

The first outstanding fact (of the above) is that one-half of our 
members came into the church before they were in their teens. This 
accounts for the large part which influence played upon them and for 
the fact that more than one-half did not feel any sense of guilt. It also 
accounts for the fact that less than one-half understood the significance 
of entering the Church, and that less than one-half feel that the reality 
of that experience is a strengthening memory. 

The facts presented here are of particular relevance to the sub- 
ject of "preparing for church membership" and it is felt that our 
pastors should know these facts and modify their procedures ac- 


Study 4 

Some Religious Beliefs and Concepts of the Youth in the 
Brethren Colleges* 

The Church 



Christ instituted the Church 




Only institution able to bring 


kingdom into the 

hearts of men 




Should Christianize the world 





; teachings of Jesus in 

daily conduct 




Must be 

: a member of the Church 

to be saved 




Following practices essential : 






















Holy kiss 












Simple living 







M. F. 
17 4 


38 22 




73 40 

7 4 
15 4 


26 10 


26 16 


68 37 
78 47 
66 38 


56 42 
35 23 

155 Young people 
90 Male M. 

65 Female F. 

This is a survey of 155 college students. Seventy-five of this num- 
ber are members of the Church of the Brethren. Four are not mem- 
bers of any church, and the remaining 76 are members of other de- 
nominations. The section of this study dealing with "Beliefs about 
the Church" has a direct bearing on our problem. The results of 
this particular study are given in the preceding chart. 

General Trend of Belief: 

Approximately seven-eighths of this group believe that Christ in- 
stituted the organization, which we call the Christian Church. One 
hundred forty-three believe that the first great work of the church is 
to Christianize the world. All but ten believe it is possible to practice 
the teachings of Jesus in one's daily living. 
The greatest points of difference arise in the following: 
1. About two-thirds believe that the church is the only organization 
capable of bringing Christ's kingdom mto the hearts of men. 

4. Hykcs, Mary L., Thesis, 1931, pp. 24-29. 


2. Approximately one-third think it is necessary to become a mem- 
ber of some Church in order to be saved. 

Concerning the essential practices of the Christian Church there 
appears to be a diversity of beliefs. Such practices as, feet-washing, 
anointing, holy kiss, simple living and nonresistance scarcely fifty 
per cent believe them to be essential, while such practices as, faith, 
repentance and baptism more than seventy-five per cent believe these 
to be essential. 

In general they believe : 

1. That Christ instituted the Church. 

2. That the work of the Church is soul winning. 

3. That following Jesus' teachings is possible today. 

4. That faith, repentance, baptism and communion are essential 
practices of the Church. 

However they are quite divided in their beliefs about: 

1. The necessity of Church affiliation. 

2. Whether the Church is the only body able to establish the Kmg- 
dom of God. 

3. Whether such practices as feet-washing, the holy kiss, anointing, 
simple living and nonresistance are essential practices of the Church. 
Conclusions : 

It is interesting to note that the focal points of agreement tend 
toward the major beliefs and practices of the Christian Church. This 
is as it should be. These figures reveal that the majority of these youths 
are affiliated with some church yet forty of them do not believe it is 
essential to salvation. This may indicate that some of these youths 
observe such practices of the Church because of custom and not from 
conviction. If the proper instruction concerning the value of church 
ordinances is given youth, their beliefs will become more firmly estab- 
lished through the years for it must be considered that these are forma- 
tive years. The fact that eleven reject faith, nineteen reject repentance 
and thirty reject baptism as essential prerequisites to becoming af- 
filiated with any church, is proof enough that their teaching has not 
been one hundred per cent efficient. 

It may appear from these figures that approximately two-thirds of 
these College Youths attach something undesirable or tame to the 
term "simplicity" for they reject it as being essential in the Christian 
life. Perhaps the Church has emphasized outward simplicity such as 
dress and amusements rather than inner simplicity which comes from 
the heart. Forms of living versus spirit of living soon becomes hack- 
neyed and unattractive to youth. From the above statements, it may 
appear necessary that these young people be given responsibilities in 
the Church so that their faith becomes a living, working reality in their 
lives. Only eleven young men from ninety who expect to enter re- 
ligious work as a life profession and a smaller number of girls. This 
may indicate that the program of Religious Education in the past has 
emphasized the form rather than the spirit, hence for these youths. 
Church work holds little attraction. There are other- factors also, such 
as money, luxury and better social opportunities which attract youth 
away from Church work. Surely the Church ought to define her pro- 
gram more concretely and execute it more completely. 


The fact that the majority believe in the origin, work and cardinal 
practices of the Church is conclusive evidence of the type of teaching 
they have received but Christ emphasized not hearing only but doing 
also. Youth w^ill find avenues of expression, religiously as v^ell as 
otherw^ise. If they cannot find channels for expression in doing busi- 
ness for Christ through the Church, vv^here then shall they go? 

Although the large majority (151) of these youths are affiliated 
with some Church yet they are not fully in sympathy with all of the 
practices of the Church. This may indicate laxness in Church loyalty. 

When all but ten of these youths believe it is possible to live the 
teachings of Jesus today and only one third think the principle of non- 
resistance is essential, there appears to have been an underestimate of 
some teachings which Jesus emphasized. 

It might be profitable in teaching youth, to emphasize the idea of 
measuring all choices, all plans, all wants and desires in the light of 
Jesus' standard as it is depicted in the New Testament. 

The value of the above study for our purpose is that it suggests 
the weaknesses in our usual procedure of preparing prospective mem- 
bers for church membership. The attitude of these youths toward 
the church and many of her practices must be laid at the door of the 
church herself, and the home, for failure to give these young people 
adequate instruction and intellectual grounds for the beliefs and 
practices which she maintains. We have failed to give them a proper 
appreciation of these things. 

Study 5 

The Religious Beliefs and Concepts of Early Adolescence^ 

This study is based on a questionnaire filled out by 100 adolescents 
ages 12-16 of various denominations. The part concerning, "Be- 
liefs about Conversion" is of special interest to our study. 

Chart — Conversion 

Yes Uncert'n No Omitt'd 
G. B. G. B. G. B. G. B. 

1. Does conversion mean merely the act 

of baptism, or joining the church? 6 14 8 11 25 33 3 

2. Does conversion mean a change 
"within" which results in a new 

and better way of living? 32 40 5 14 2 5 2 

3. Does baptism necessarilv follow a 

true conversion? " 15 23 9 18 12 18 3 2 

4. Do you believe you can live at your 
best and finally reach heaven with- 
out becoming converted? 6 15 13 14 20 31 1 

5. Zigler, Naomi R., Thesis, 1929, pp. 21-24. 


5. Are you a church member? 28 43 1 11 17 

6. Do you think you have been 

converted? 19 32 14 13 4 14 2 2 

100 Adolescents in all 
39 G— Girls 
61 B— Boys 

Beliefs about Conversion 
General Trend; 

Conversion does not mean merely the act of baptism or joining the 
church. It means a change within which results in a new and better 
way of living. A true conversion is necessarily followed by baptism, 
however. They do not believe that one can live at his best and finally 
reach heaven without becoming converted. The greater number of 
them are church members, yet not all of these church members are 
sure that they have been converted. 

Interpretation : 

A single reading over the general trend of belief might lead one to 
feel that the teaching on conversion has been quite good, but a closer 
study of the numerical facts reveals that this group of adolescents is 
in great confusion on the subject. Only 72 recognize conversion as a 
real change within. Twenty believe it is merely the act of baptism. 

Only 51, just about one-half of this group, feel that conversion is 
essential to one's best living and eternal happiness in heaven. This 
seems to indicate that to the other half, one's social dealings constitute 
one's religion without any faith in or help from God. It is generally 
agreed that in true conversion God sends the Holy Spirit that one may 
live at his best on earth. Also a thorough Bible study on the subject 
will reveal that salvation by faith is the heart of both the Old and 
New Testament teachings. Evidently these points have not been made 
clear to this group. 

Seventy-one are church members but only 51 feel that they are really 
converted. Perhaps more of them would feel that they have been con- 
verted if they only knew what conversion is. 

To interpret, in one word, the findings of the questionnaire on this 
point, I would say it is "confusion" for that describes their state of 
mind. It indicates as much confusion in the minds of the teachers as 
in the minds of the pupils. 

Recommendations : 

It is highly probable that many grown people are greatly confused 
oii this point also. So an attempt should be made to clear up this state 
of affairs. 

In the first place, every teacher of religion must get very clearly in 
her own mind just what conversion is. How can she make clear to 
others what is not clear to herself? In this connection she should find 
out all that the Bible says on the subject. Her pastor can help her to 
do this systematically. Also she should read such books as Begbie's 
"Twiceborn Men" and Hadley's "Down in Water Street". These 
books present experiences of men who have been really converted 


from lives of sin and degradation to lives of purity and righteous ac- 
tivity. Although not all people have such radical changes in their own 
lives, it will serve to clear up the notion that conversion is merely 
"joining the church," 

After making a thorough study as suggested above, the teacher 
should use every device on which she can lay her hands, to make clear 
that conversion is essential to right living here and happiness here- 
after. The all too prevalent notion that right social relationships is the 
all important thing must be avoided. This phase of teaching need not 
be minimized, but it must not be all. A right relationship to God should 
be stressed even more. The first and great commandment is, "Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength and 
mind," and the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself" (Matt. 22:37-39). Relation to God and then to man is the 
proper order. 

The subject of "Conversion" is basically and fundamentally tied 
up with a study of "Preparing for Church Membership". It is es- 
sential that pastor, teacher and pupil understand the nature and 
meaning of this experience as it relates to God, one's fellow men, 
and the Church. 

Study 6 

Some Influences of Native Endowment and Environment on Types 
of Conversion Experience^ 

"This investigation," says the author, "covers a total number of 66 
cases. Twenty-one of the 66 cases classified themselves as having a 
sudden conversion and forty-five of the cases classified themselves as 
having a gradual change in life's interests. Twenty-two women and 
44 men responded to the questionnaires. Twenty-one of the twenty- 
two women considered they had the gradual change of interests in 
life and only one had a sudden conversion." 

In this study we are primarily interested in the "Conversion ex- 
perience and its relation to church membership" as is presented in 
pages forty-five to forty-seven. 

The conversion experience and its relation to church membership is 
of interest because of the place of church membership in religious life. 
By studying this we find that 20 of the 21 persons who had the sudden 
conversion are members of some organized church. We observe also 
that 41 of the 44 persons answering in the gradual group are members 
of some organized church. Twelve of the group who had the sudden 
change joined the church at the time of their conversion and 9 did not. 
Thirty-five of the group having the gradual change united with the 
church at the time of their conversion and 9 did not. Noting further, 
4 of the sudden group apparently joined the church before the end of 
a month, 4 joined the church before they had a real conversion ex- 

6. Elrod, James H., Thesis, 1932, pp. 45-47. 


perience and one of these more than one year before. Twenty-eight of 
the gradual group joined the church within one month after their con- 
version, 3 within one year and 11 joined before they had a real con- 
version experience. Seven joined the church more than a year be- 
fore their conversion experience. 

Summary : 

There seems to be no definite or clear cut way here of determining 
whether or not the experience which one has after uniting with the 
church is more of a conversion experience than the one which caused 
these individuals to unite with the church. If one knew all the factors 
then it could be more definitely determined. The thing which is sig- 
nificant here is the fact that joining the church seems to have led them 
on to a more vital experience. This is significant for those doing Chris- 
tian work and is the proper result to be expected when one commits 
himself to God in faith. 

The writer of this study defines the term conversion in these 
words: "The integration of the individual's personality with Jesus 
Christ as a center of reference." It is apparent that this study dealt 
with adults rather than young people or children. The writer shows 
us the relation of these types of conversions as they relate to church 

General Conclusions drawn from the related subjects as a whole: 

1. We recognize full well that the matter of adequately pre- 
paring an individual for church membership is not easy. 

2. We note that the general "spirit of the age" is one which 
looks down on the church in a certain sense and regards church af- 
filiation of relative minor importance. 

3. The majority of youth who were studied had joined the 
church between the ages of 8 and 12 years. 

4. Becoming church members made little perceptible change in 
the lives of 50 per cent or more. 

5. These studies indicate that many come Into the church with- 
out having had any vital experience, or any adequate understanding 
of what they were doing. 

6. These studies indicate that many churches have been lax in 
receiving members. Members have usually been received without 
adequate instruction and preparation for this step. There is need 
for more careful and thorough preparation for church membership. 
Classes for preparation for church membership are recommended by 
several of the studies. 


7. The church has failed to a large extent to indoctrinate her 
youth and give them a proper appreciation of her religious heritage. 

8. The present study looks at the problem through the eyes of 
the ministers while these related studies indicate some of the results 
or lack of results from the members' point of view. 

9. These studies present the importance of the following factors 
in preparing individuals for church membership. 

1. Reasons or causes of uniting with church. 

2. The usual age of joining. 

3. The changes wrought in life by joining the church. 

4. An estimate of the worthwhileness of the initial experience. 

5. Beliefs about the church : her practices, beliefs and function. 

6. The attitude toward the church. 

7. Concepts about conversion and the relation of this phenomena 
to church membership. 

10. These related studies serve as background material for this 
specific study of the present practices and attitudes among ministers 
of the Church of the Brethren relative to "Preparation for church 






The Problem. — The honest student in search of truth often has 
occasion to witness to the fact that the discovery of that which is 
not true is of as great value as the discovery of the actual truth. A 
fact which we often overlook is that an organization may be signi- 
ficant for what it does not do, as much as for what it does do. I 
speak with reference to the Church of the Brethren. 

It is a matter of common knowledge that from the days of the 
Reformation all denominations, with but few exceptions, have pre- 
pared and used a catechism as a basic part of their religious educa- 
tion. It hardly need be said that the Church of the Brethren is one 
of the few exceptions to this procedure. 

We propose, therefore, in this discussion to arrive at an answer 
to several questions: Why did not the early leaders of our church 


prepare and employ a catechism for the indoctrination of her young 
in the basic tenets of her faith, as the reformers had done before 
them? Did they follow some better procedure ? What of the situa- 
tion in the present day? 

Attitude of the founder and early leaders of the Brethren. — It is 
an accepted fact that she (the church) did not provide a formal 
catechism and procedure of study, but are we to conclude that she 
had no interest or concern for the religious instruction and indoc- 
trination of her young? We cite several illustrations from her early 
history which are evidence enough to her deep and vital concern in 
this matter. 

The treatises of Alexander Mack. — Alexander Mack was the 
author of two valuable treatises, indeed valuable for his day and 
too little known in our own day, and to the writer's knowledge are 
not even available from the church publishers. This is to our shame, 
as showing: a marked lack of respect for our spiritual god father, 
and a woeful lack of appreciation for historical perspective. 

Mack's conception of the New Testament teaching concerning 
the Christian life, entitled, "A Short and Plain View of Outward, 
yet Sacred Rites and Ordinances of the House of God"^ in a sense 
may be termed a catechism. There is nothing which would lead us 
to conclude that Mack thought of it as a Catechism and we have no 
record of its use as such, but we cannot deny that the substance, the 
question and answer style (a conversation between father and son) 
really make it quite comparable to catechisms of the day. We be- 
lieve that it served only as a treatise to be read, wherein was set 
forth and defended the truth as Mack had discerned through his 
careful study of the New Testament. It was not, we believe, pre- 
pared with the Brethren themselves in mind, but chiefly for the out- 
sider who might look on and criticize. It was, then, an Apology for 
the faith of this new sect. That It did serve as a valuable means of 
instruction for the Brethren, and perhaps to a better advantage than 
a catechism would have, is little to be doubted. 

The second work of Mack is also worthy of note. This was his 
answer to Eberhard Ludwig Gruber's "Ground-Searching Ques- 
tions."^ Some years after the Brethren arrived In America there 
was a request for the republication of this work. It was reprinted on 

1. Kurtz, Henry, Brethren Encyclopedia (1867). 

2. Kurtz, op. cit. 


the Christopher Sower Press. Alexander Mack, Junior in the pref- 
ace to this new publication cites as reasons for it: 

Since the older brethren had died . . . more especially for the benefit 
of our dear youth, that they may have a plain and simple exposition 
of the truth, in which we are instructed.^ 

Dr. F. D. Dove writing of the above mentioned treatises says : 

These documents cannot be considered as doctrinal creeds, but they 
embodied the principles of faith of the early Brethren and are still con- 
sidered the foundation for the doctrines and beliefs which have taken 
form among- this people.^ 

Hoecker and the Sunday School. — That our early leaders had a 
venturesome religious spirit is evidenced by an experiment in hold- 
ing: "Regular Sunday afternoon services for the unmarried or young 
people at the house of Christopher Sower."^ It is significant that 
these classes were first held in 1738, thirty years after the organiza- 
tion of the church, (forty years in advance of Robert Raikes' work 
in England) by Ludwig Hoecker. This, so far as we know, was the 
first organized Sunday School in America — and continued for a pe- 
riod of about ten years until Hoecker joined the Ephrata Society 
where he continued this work. Our only conclusion is that the Breth- 
ren were in advance of their contemporaries, even those who held 
the catechetical classes, in the matter of religious education. 

The Sower Press. — The establishment of the Sower printing 
press in 1738, provided a very significant educational agency among 
German speaking peoples in Colonial America. The most significant 
contribution from this press was the German Bible printed in 1743. 
This was the first Bible to be printed in America. By the printing 
and dissemination of numerous articles he helped in'large measure 
to shape the religious and social life of his people. As early as 1754, 
he wrote a book on Christian Education.^ Mack, Jr., a close friend 
of Sower, also published among other works a magazine on Chris- 
tian Education. Both Sower and Mack were strong advocates of 
education and gave much time, energy, money in helping to establish 
the famous Germantown Academy in 1759. 

3. Heckman, S. B., The Religious Poetry of Alexander Mack Jr. (Elgin, Brethren 
Publishing House, 1912), p. 27, 

4. Dove, F. D., Cultural Changes in the Church of the Brethren, p. 132. 

5. Sharp, S. Z., Bicentennial Addresses (Elgin, Brethren Publishing House, 1908), 
p. 311. 

6. Dove, op. cit., p. 175. 


Annual Meeting Minute, Article 2, 1789. — We wish now to quote 
in full Article 2 of the Annual meeting minutes of 1789, concerning 
the "training of children." This expression after eighty years of his- 
tory is very revealing of the attitude and concern of the Brethren 
for proper religious instruction of their young people. 

Inasmuch as many of our children and young people fall into a coarse 
life, and a great occasion of it seems to be that there is not sufficient 
diligence used in instructing the children according to the Word of the 
Lord given by Moses in Deut. 6:7, where we read: "And thou shalt 
teach them (these words which I command thee this day) diligently 
unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy 
house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, 
and when thou risest up;" and also the apostle Paul says (Eph. 6:4) 
that parents should "bring them (their children) up in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord;" it is opinion (and advice) that there 
should be used more diligence to instruct our dear youth and children 
in the Word of Truth to their salvation, and that it is the special duty 
of the dear parents, as well as of pastors and teachers, to be engaged 
herein, inasmuch as the apostle teaches, "Feed the flock of God which 
is among you, taking the oversight thereof." (I Peter 5 :2) And, inas- 
much as the children of the faithful belong to the flock of Christ, just 
as naturally as the lambs belong to the flock of sheep ; and, inasmuch 
as the Word can be brought nearer to the hearts of children in a simple 
conversation or catechization, or however it may be called, than other- 
wise in a long sermon, so that they apprehend the Word of Divine 
Truth, believe in Jesus, and accept His doctrine and commandments, 
and walk therein to their eternal salvation — hence we admonish in 
heartfelt and humble love all our, in God, much beloved fellow-mem- 
bers, dear fathers and mothers of families, as also pastors and teach- 
ers, our, in God, much beloved fellow-laborers, in the dear and worthy 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given Himself unto death for 
us, that we should die to ourselves, and live to Him forever, that they 
would use all possible diligence that our dear youth might be provoked 
to love God, and appreciate His Word from their childhood. Do not 
spare any labor and toil to convince them by our teaching and by our 
life, not after the manner which is almost too common nowadays, 
where the young are made to learn something by heart, and then to 
rehearse it in a light, thoughtless manner, and then are permitted to 
go on in a life as thoughtless as before — but that they may give them- 
selves to God in an earnest life. The great Rewarder of all good will 
undoubtedly remunerate you ; for those that have done right shall live 
forever, and the Lord is their reward, and the Most High provides 
for them ; they will receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown 
from the hand of the Lord.'^ 

Through the above lines we breathe something of the earnestness 

and the sincerity of our forefathers. We note first that they felt the 

7. Revised Minutes of the Annual Meetings from 1778 to 1922 (Elgin, Brethren 
(Publishing House), p. 110. 


need of religious instruction. It has been a perennial need. The 
responsibility of the home and family is here most strongly emphasiz- 
ed. There is a constant call for a re-emphasis of this note. It is very 
interesting to note that though the children were expected in attend- 
ance of the long sermons they were not termed as adequate, "inas- 
much as the Word can be brought nearer to the hearts of children in 
a simple conversation or catechization, or however it may be called." 
They were thus aware of the need for adapting the method and 
procedure of instruction to suit the age differences. In no unmistak- 
able terms they opposed the common system of catechization, "where 
the young are made to learn something by heart, and then to rehearse 
it in light, thoughtless manner, and then are permitted to go on in 
a life as thoughtless as before." The plea of this statement is that all 
parents, all pastors, all teachers, all fellow laborers in the name of 
Christ endeavor by their teaching and by their life to lead their 
young people — to love God, to appreciate His Word, and give 
themselves to God in an earnest life. 

The above illustrations describe and portray the underlying con- 
victions and attitudes of the Brethren wherein the New Testament 
was central and the home most important in Christian education 
even though the fortunes of education among our people do not 
present a line of continuous progress. 

Further implications of Problem. — We return now to our first 
question, namely. Why did not the founder and early leaders of the 
church of the Brethren prepare and employ a catechism for the in- 
doctrination of her young in the basic tenets of her faith as did the 
reformers before them? 

When the fervor of the Reformation period had passed, the 
scholastic theologians turned their attention to refuting the heresies 
and falsities of the Roman Catholic teaching. Doctrine became the 
one great subject of thought, speech, and writing. Some of the 
catechisms which appeared at this time were compendiums of system- 
atic theology and not at all suited for the instruction of the young. 
They were intended as helps and guides in religious Instruction — 
but became props for poor teachers and ministers with little or no 
teaching ability. The use of the catechisms widely degenerated into 
a slavish, mechanical service of asking rote questions with the pur- 
pose of securing memorized rote answers in reply, apart from any 
necessary Interchange of thought or knowledge between teachers 


and pupil. That which was designed as an aid to religious instruction 
became a stumbling block to many. Scholasticism on the one hand, 
and on the other, the scientific awakening under the influence of 
Bacon were factors which had diminished interest in religion. Thus 
the teaching of the young almost died out from the churches of 
Protestantism thru the misuse and abuse of the agencies devised for 
its promotion. 

Spener, Francke, and Zinzendorf endeavored to redeem the day 
and bring about a vital religious awakening. Spener and the Pietists 
did help to give new life to catechetical instruction by connecting it 
with spiritual teaching and early life. Spener prepared a question 
and answer catechism in the introduction of which he pointed out to 
parents and teachers its proper use and strove to impress upon 
them that it was not designed to be stored in the memory, but to 
enlighten the mind and touch the heart. 
Relation of the Church of the Brethren to the Catechetical System 

It Is at this point in the story that we have the origin of the 
Taufers, the German Baptist Brethren, today known as the Church 
of the Brethren. In the light of the above discussion we are in a 
better position to answer the main question before us, i. e.. Why did 
not the early leaders of our church prepare and employ a catechism 
for the indoctrination of her youth in the basic tenets of her faith, 
as the reformers had done in earlier days? 

Brumbaugh^^ speaking of our origin writes : 

. . . the new congregation at Schwarzenau studied all denominations, 
knew all shades of faith, and then turned from Ecclesiasticism and 
Pietism alike to carve out a new and distinct order of faith and prac- 
tice. They were debtors to all, and followers of none. The church was 
the joint product of Bible study and protest against all forms of wor- 
ship. ... It is significant to note that what they wrought endures; 
what they rejected is for most part a memory for the historian. 

Our chief concern here is in one element which they rejected. The 
reasons for rejection are a part of our unwritten history. We can, 
however, on the basis of certain underlying beliefs and convictions 
surmise fairly accurately what the reasons must have been. 

The most obvious reason for rejecting the catechetical method of 
religious instruction has been set forth above. The very abuse of 
the system, in spite of Spener's efforts to revive it, had discredited 

35. Brumbaugh, M. G., A History of the Gerninn Baptist Brethren (Elgin, Illinois: 
Brethren Publishing Houise, 1899), "pp. 10-12. 


the whole procedure in the eyes of Mack and the first members. 

The condition at the time the Brethren organized is well put in the 

following words: 

To the masses the Bible had come to be a closed book. Its use in 
the schools was neglected, or if used, the most cursory reading sufficed. 
Catechization was almost entirely discontinued, or if made use of at 
all, the mere committing to memory of the various parts was all that 
was thought necessary.^® 

It is no wonder then that our church leaders have nothing to say 
of catechetical instruction, to say nothing of incorporating it in their 
program of Christian education. They not only had observed its 
abuse but had experienced it no doubt since it must be remembered 
that the original eight had left one or the other of the state church- 
es. They had been subjected to the catechetical system in their 
youth and were not favorably impressed. 

Another point to be remembered is that they were of Pietistic 
and Separatist leanings. They were strongly opposed to all ex- 
ternal forms and ceremonies, and left the state churches because of 
their formalism, their barrenness, their insincerity of life. To be 
consistent separatists, they leaned over backwards to avoid the 
evils of the old organization. 

The above reasons appear on the surface. We need to look deep- 
er to find the fundamental reasons for the rejection of the catecheti- 
cal system which root in the very genius of her faith. 

Mack, less radical than the Pietists who renounced all outward 
organization, for the "church-in-the-spirit" concept, felt that there 
should be an organized church, but no existing organization fulfilled 
his ideal. He believed that the ordinances of the church should be 
derived from the New Testament and that this book alone should 
be its creed. This was a return to Primitive, or Apostolic Chris- 
tianity which Mack described with the adjective "true". It is from 
this conviction on the part of Mack that all other reasons for rejec- 
tion of the catechetical system ultimately proceed. 

Creed was anathema to Mack and his followers. The churches un- 
der state control had made the creed central. Mack sought to make 
Christ central. The church creed was a symbol of insincerity view- 
ing it from their point of view. They had seen too many go through 
the motions of reciting the creed and go out and live in sin. The 

36. Richards, Marie E., Spener and Francke, p. 6. 


creed was a symbol of persecution and distress. Hence, Mack avoid- 
ed writing a creed to sustain the new faith he was introducing, point- 
ing his followers to acceptance of the New Testament as their only 
creed, their rule of faith and practice. The creed was static. Mack 
was interested in life and in growth. He was committed to a policy of 
keeping his mind and heart open to more Hght. The position of 
Mack we believe to be essentially that expressed by Michael Wohl- 
fahrt (of the Ephrata society) to Benjamin Franklin: 

. . . we fear that if we should once print our confession of faith, we 
should feel ourselves, as if bound and confined by it, and perhaps be 
unwilling to receive further improvement, and our successors still more 
so, as concerning what their elders and founders had done to be some- 
thing sacred — never to be departed from.^^ 

A formal man-made creed was an abomination to Mack, hence 
the policy of the church throughout her history has been to : 

. . . avoid formal commitment to, or endorsement of any statement 
of its doctrines which might become binding upon the church as its 
creed. The tendency has been to provide for doctrinal instruction thru 
the teaching agencies of the church, without any carefully defined 
limitation as to what that instruction shall include. But major 
emphasis is placed on the necessity that it shall be based on the teach- 
ings of the Bible.^^ 

If Mack would reject the Creed it follows quite naturally that he 
would likely reject the catechism which was so largely built upon the 

Another foundational principle of our church is that there shall 
be "No exercise of force in religion," by the state from without, or 
the hierarchy of the church from within. Through a careful study 
of the scriptures Mack came to believe that baptism was for believ- 
ers only; for those who had reached the age of accountability. Just 
what this age was we cannot be certain. We know that the three 
sons of Mack, along with Sower, Jr., united with the church in their 
seventeenth year from which we may possibly infer that Mack 
taught that the proper age for membership was at least sixteen 
years.^^ However this may be, we do know that the church began 
as an adult movement and though all had received baptism in infancy 

37. Brumbaugh, M. G., A History of the German Baptist Brethren (Elgin, Illinois : 
Brethren Publishing House, 1899), pp. 527, 528. 

38. Dove, op. cit., p. 139. 

39. Cf. Brumbaugh, M. G., A History df the, German Baptist Brethren (Elgin, 
Illinois: Brethren Publishing House), p. 95. 


they considered this unscriptural and entered into a covenant of 
baptism at the river Eder. They became Anabaptists and upon the 
basis of Scripture and this scriptural principle "no force in religion" 
rejected infant baptism. The state churches baptized infants who 
could show no reason or desire on their part, to join the church. The 
catechetical system was, in the state churches, the accompaniment 
of infant baptism; as soon as the baptized child was old enough he 
was compelled to begin catechetical instruction which continued 
until his confirmation at the age of twelve. Thus in rejecting infant 
baptism, it does not seem strange that they would reject this system 
so closely associated with it. 

It would seem that Mack, knowing what he must have known 
about the system, was led to place the major responsibility upon 
parents for the religious instruction of their children and this with 
the full authority of the scripture — Deut. 6:7; Eph. 6:7. The 
church, through vital scriptural preaching, was responsible for the 
instruction and the edification of the parents. 

In the last analysis it comes to the point of fundamental emphasis. 
The Lutheran and Reformed Churches were undergirded by the 
premise that religion must appeal to the individual human reason 
therefore they emphasized the intellectual comprehension of, and 
assent to right beliefs — which they sought to accomplish through 
the teaching of the catechism. The Dunkers, our forefathers went 
a step farther, they said "not merely 'right beliefs' (i. e. beheve right 
according to the orthodox standard) but insisted on right beliefs 
that matter in the daily expression of private and public life. They 
would say that the profession of right beliefs means nothing with- 
out the practice of right living. We saw at the beginning of this 
paper that they were concerned about the religious instruction of 
their youth but evidently did not beh'eve the current catechetical pro- 
cedure practical with their emphasis on right living. Again we must 
remember that these godly men and women were so wrapped up in 
their study of the Bible that they had no time for the study of a 

Conclusion : Resume and Evaluation 

As a denomination we are perhaps as far from a catechism as we 
ever were but perhaps there are some values to be derived from 
the mistakes of others in using the catechetical method which we 


might well appropriate and conserve, for we do stand for Christian 
education of a high type. 

We have seen that the earliest form of religious instruction was 
the interlocutory, that of mutual conversation between pupil and 
teacher. This is catechetical teaching in its true and best sense. There 
is a wide difference between memorizing the catechism and catecheti- 
cal teaching. The catechisms came in as an aid to this form of instruc- 
tion and were not intended as an end or method in and of themselves. 
Catechisms were first prepared as an aid to the teacher or minister 
who had almost no written helps whatever. They outlined the sub- 
ject of study, but were not to be the object of study. Later, simple 
forms were prepared for the pupils to memorize. At this time the 
questions of doctrine and belief were supreme in importance in 
religious instruction. There was a reason for this empha;sis. The 
corruptions of a thousand years of worldly reign by the Roman 
church had corrupted the matters of doctrine and belief, hence it 
was necessary that these should be definitely stated and studied tc 
some extent in order to direct the church of the Reformation into the 
light of pure doctrine and teaching. 

The catechism, then, did have its value and served a real purpose. 
The misfortune is that they widely degenerated into a formal meth- 
od of questioning and answering with memorized and parrot-like 
responses. The criticisms which may be raised today grow out of 
the abuse and misuse of the catechism and cannot fairly be directed 
toward the original conception and purposes of the catechism. 

The chief argument against the catechetical memorization meth- 
od is that it was pedagogically unsound, violating fundamental laws 
of education: the laws of interest, adaptation, apperception, self- 
activity, etc. This method compelled the memory to hold what had 
no meaning to the mind. We might say the catechetical method em- 
ployed the "cram" procedure of learning. A further disadvantage 
of the method is that it provided only one statement for a truth or 
doctrine, that might be and perhaps must be stated in a dozen dif- 
ferent ways to be understood by a dozen different people. It dis- 
regarded the fact that a doctrinal statement is of very little value 
unless it is an honest expression of a truth which has become real 
and vital for one in his own experience and such statement? cannot 
be learned out of a book. The catechism lacks the power of personal 



example. Abstract statements, dogmatic pronouncements, ethical 
precepts are in themselves, like a library in the dark. 

The chief values of the use of the catechism are : ( 1 ) that it did 
provide a definite means of religious instruction and saved the chil- 
dren from growing up in complete ignorance of the fundamental 
truths of religion. (2) It sought to present a body of truth and not 
mere fragments of interesting and valuable principles and doctrines 
and thereby satisfied in part, the need and desire for brief, plain, 
and adequate statements of truth embodied in Christian belief. 

(3) It put the pastor into more intimate touch with the younger 
members — the lambs of his flock. It helped the pastor to keep in 
close touch with the home and check on the home training of youth. 

(4) The use of the catechism supplemented other forms of religious 
education: Historically speaking, catechetical instruction did not 
displace religious instruction in the home or in the church. Neither 
has it done so in those modern churches which have been most suc- 
cessful. For instance, let us note that even though the Lutheran 
church has made extensive use of catechisms, it is at the same time 
one of the most progressive denominations in the religious education 

We have pointed out that the Church of the Brethren rejected 

all formal creeds and took the New Testament as her only creed. 

Likewise, as we have seen, she has been careful about printing or 

endorsing doctrinal statements for fear they might become binding 

on the church as a creed. Dr. Dove writing relative to this matter, 


Young churches and young church members must necessarily 
flounder somewhat in the effort to observe doctrines which the church 
body itself has never clearly defined. But thru the medium of social 
heritage a remarkable purity of doctrinal modes has been preserved 
among them, and much emphasis has been placed on the 'faith of our 
fathers,' hence what they have lacked in articles of creed, they have 
counterbalanced in traditional fidelity.'*'^ 

This statement is not as true today as it once was. Young mem- 
bers do flounder and I dare say are not always ready to give an 
answer for their faith. The truth is, that the socio-religious heritage 
does not make such a strong impact as it once did. While in theory 
we still lay great emphasis on the home and its teaching responsibili- 
ty in practice this does not go as far as in past years. Nor do we need 

40. Dove, op. cit., p. 134. 


to argue the fact that not as much emphasis is given to our "tradi- 
tions" today and to the "faith of our fathers" as was given a quar- 
ter of a century ago. We need some kind of instruction to imbue more 
effectually the minds of our people with "the first principles of the 
oracles of God." We need to indoctrinate them soundly and system- 
atically in revealed truth and thus guard them against being "car- 
ried about with every wind of doctrine." We must so teach, as to 
qualify them to join in the weekly service of the sanctuary with full 
understanding, and with minds equipped in all respects for the right 
and deep impression of what they hear.^^ Our need is not a doctrinal 
statement but a more careful teaching of the doctrines of the New 
Testament as we understand them. We need to give greater atten- 
tion to helping young people to a historical perspective and proper 
appreciation of "the faith of our fathers" in our denomination and 
the Church Universal. 

We take for granted in the hght of the above discussion that the 
mechanical catechetical class is out-of-date and impractical — but we 
feel there is a need for something (in addition to what we now have) 
to take its place in the religious education of our Brethren Youth. 
We have in mind a class, shall I say a special class, for our young 
people ages 12-15 who are already, or may be prospective members 
of the church and are seeking guidance as to how to take the most 
important step in hfe — that of becoming a Christian. The purpose 
would be to lead them to accept Jesus Christ as their personal 
Saviour, lead them into the fellowship of the Christian Church, and 
help them to a proper appreciation of that particular branch of the 
Church with which they unite. To put it still another way: we shall 
be concerned with helping them be sincere disciples of Christ, know- 
ing Him, believing Him, loving Him, obeying Him, manifesting 
their discipleship by the gentleness, the thoughtfulness, the honesty, 
the purity and the unselfishness of their lives. We want them to be 
good members of the church : understanding its history, its principles, 
its customs, its blessings ; devoted to the church, making the most of 
it for the good of their own individual lives, using it to help them to 
do the right; making the most of it for the good of the community, 
using the church for the general establishment of the Kingdom of 

41. Cf. McClintock and Strong, op. cit. 

42. Cf. Potter, H. C, (Ed.), The Principles of RdigiousiBducation, (New York; 
Longmans, Green & Co., 1900), p. 80. 


Ideally the pastor should take this class. The content need not 
be, and should not be a mere compendium of theology but should 
use the best methods of religious education and deal with basic 
things in a plain and practical way, helping his pupils to an intelligent 
understanding of what it means to be a Christian and a member of 
the church of Christ, and more specifically a member of the Church 
of the Brethren. In this class there should be a proper recognition 
of the catechetical method in its best sense, relating the whole to life. 



A copy of the questionnaire sent to secure the data will be found 
on the following page. The aim here was to cover all points relevant 
to the subject In the shortest compass possible. It was hoped and 
expected that if the space allowed was not sufficient the other side 
of the sheet would be freely used for explanations. The writer now 
thinks of other questions which might have been Included, and no 
one realizes better than he certain inadequacies of the Instrument 

Recipients of the Questionnaire 

The questionnaire with a letter introducing and explaining Its pur- 
pose was sent out to two hundred eighty ministers of the Church of 
the Brethren. The writer endeavorefd to send the questionnaire to 
a representative group with the hope of arriving at a representative 
picture of the procedures in this matter throughout the Brother- 
hood. The group Includes free ministers, salaried pastors, college 
and seminary faculty members of pastoral experience, seminary 
students with previous pastoral experience or part-time pastorates. 
There was no discrimination with respect to age. The age range 
Includes seminary students to men old in years whose active ministry 
is well nigh at an end. The writer sent questionnaires to men in 
each district of the Brotherhood with the exception of Western 
Canada and had one or more answers from all but four of the dis- 
tricts. Proportionally more were sent to Indiana, Ohio, Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland and Virginia where our membership is greatest. 


The questionnaire was likewise sent to both city and rural pastors 
or ministers. Where it was possible the author sent to at least two 
city pastors and two rural pastors of a district. Some districts how- 
ever did not have two city churches. At least two questionnaires 
were sent to each of the districts regardless of the number of church- 
es of the total membership. 

Name Address 

District Name of church 

I. Do you follow the usual procedure (brief examination before 
baptism) in preparing prospective members? Yes .... No .... Do 
you consider this procedure adequate? Yes .... No 

II. Have you held a preparatory class for church membership? 
Yes .... No Is there a need for such a class? Yes .... No 

Note: Please fill the blanks below on the basis of your experience 
with a class or on the basis of what you think you would do if you 
were to hold such a class. 

1. Name of class Ages 

2. Number of sessions Length of each 

3. Time of meeting: Sunday? .... During week? .... Season? .... 

4. Place of meeting: Church? .... Pastor's home or study? 

5. How participants are enlisted ? 

6. Prepare own course? .... Follow prepared course? .... Whose? 
Evaluate : Good ? . . . . Fair ? . . . . Poor ? . . . . 

7. Major outline of course ? 

8. Chief aim and purpose ? 

9. Method of teaching : Lecture ? . . . . Question and answer ? . . . . 
Projects? .... Discussion? .... Reading and Recitation? .... 
Memory work? .... Otherwise ? 

10. Results justify efforts? Yes .... No .... Questionable 

11. Chief difficulties to confront? 

12. How did you consummate the work of such a class? 

13. What measures were taken to conserve the work of this class? 

14. What do you consider to be the chief values of class for : 

a. The class member ? 

b. The church ? 

c. The pastor or instructor ? 

15. Would appreciate having one or two pupils write a paragraph on 
"What the Pastor'^s class has meant to me." 


III. Do you hold a special class for the newly baptized? Yes .... 
No .... Describe (on back) your procedure. What difference would 
you make in the subject matter used before and after baptism? 

IV. Mark the following 1, 2, 3, in the order of your preference. 
... .A special class for preparing applicants for membership. 
... .A special class for the newly baptized. 

....A special class both before and after baptism. 

V. Do you favor the Brotherhood promoting a unified guide course 
(subject to adaptation and modification) to better prepare prospective 
members for church membership? Yes No 

VI. If you do not follow any of the above methods, then describe 
(on the back) the method you have found most useful. 

VII. Give name and address of any ministers who have such 

Replies to the Questionnaire 

For purposes of this study we are able to count 182 replies out of 
the 280 questionnaires either sent or handed out to ministers. At 
least ten returned the questionnaire without filling it at all, stating 
that their present circumstances were such that they could not fill it 
out. According to the above figure approximately 64 per cent of 
the questionnaires were answered and returned. 

There was no answer from the following districts : Western 
Canada, Northeastern Kansas, Southeastern Kansas, Nebraska, 
and Texas and Louisiana. 

On the whole we believe the replies are fairly representative of 
the entire Brotherhood. 

Interpreting the Questionnaire : 

We must admit that certain difficulties enter into the interpreta- 
tion of any questionnaire. In spite of the surveyor's care to make 
the instrument intelligible to all who receive it he may fail at certain 
points. The one who answers may carelessly or hurriedly answer 
without due consideration, thus minimizing the true import of the 
questions and answers. Again, he may misunderstand you or you 
may misinterpret his answer. Partial or incomplete answers also 
create a problem but are used In so far as this is possible. In a num- 
ber of Instances where a letter accompanied the partially answered 
questionnaire, the writer was able to fill in some blanks on the basis 
of the facts given and the spirit of the letter. The writer makes an 
honest attempt to be as scientifically accurate as he knows how in 
both statistical tabulations and Interpretations of the accumulated 


Limitations of the Study 

The questionnaire itself sets up certain limitations. Many other 
things might have been asked, but since they were not we are limited 
in those areas. To be more specific the questionnaire was sent to 
ministers only. We have no basis for determining the values and 
adequacy of the various procedures of preparing for church mem- 
bership from the standpoint of the laymen, the parents, or those 
who have gone through the procedures. Question 15 II asks that 
pastors of preparatory classes have one or more of the group who 
have participated in the same to write a statement on "What the 
Pastor's Class Has Meant to Me." There was only one response to 
this request. The survey studies of others which deal with the 
religious experience and attitudes of intermediates and young peo- 
ple help us at this particular point. The limitations of the surveyor 
himself to adequately interpret and evaluate the data are fully recog- 



Total number of questionnaires sent out 280 

Total number of questionnaires answered 182 

I. Do you follow the usual procedure, Yes. . . 
(brief examination before baptism) No. . . 
in preparing prospective members? No answer. . . 

Do you consider this procedure Yes. . . 

adequate? No... 

No answer. . . 

II. Have you held a Preparatory Yes. . . 
class for church membership? No. . . 

Is there a need for such a class? - Yes. . . 


Uncertain. . . 

Sometimes . . . 

III. Do you hold a Special Class Yes. . . 
for the newly baptized? No. . . 

IV. The number giving first preference to the following: 

A Special Class to Prepare Applicants for Membership. . 

A Special Class for the Newly Baptized 

A Special Class both before and after Baptism 

V. Do you favor the Brotherhood promoting Yes 
a unified guide course (subject to adaptation and No 
modification) to better prepare prospective Uncertain 
members? No answer 




























The first question of the questionnaire was stated as follows : 
Do you follow the usual procedure (brief examination before bap- 
tism) in preparing prospective members? 

The term "usual" is synonymous with the term "traditional" by 
which we mean the brief, though somewhat lengthy instruction and 
examination of applicants for baptism which has had the endorse- 
ment of Annual Meeting for almost a century, and has been follow- 
ed with slight modifications through the years. An interesting side- 
light on the length of the examination is presented in Article five of 
the 1859 Annual Meeting. 

Inasmuch as the ceremony used by the brethren in receiving mem- 
bers into the church is thought by a large proportion of the brethren 
to be of too great length, might it not be shortened? And instead of 
the questions being asked in the water, would it not be more consistent 
to ask them in the house or on the bank of the river or stream? 

Ans. We do not consider it good to make any alterations from the 
present practice of the brethren.^ 

The term "brief" is used, however, for even though the instruc- 
tion and examination may be an hour in length it must be considered 
short and somewhat superficial in contrast to a series of classes 
preparatory to baptism and church membership. We do not con- 
sider it usual procedure if more than one period of special instruc- 
tion is given to the applicant either before or after baptism. In the 
Church of the Brethren one cannot separate preparation for baptism 
and preparation for church membership. Baptism is the ordinance, 
the door, which admits people into the fellowship of the Church. 

Historical Survey of This Procedure 

Before we consider the establishment of the "usual" procedure 
let us note the historical data that gave rise to it. 

When Alexander Mack and his followers organized the church 
in 1708 they had spent much time in Bible study and prayer before 

1. Kurtz, Henry, op. cit., p. 40. 


taking this step. In the mind of Mack one thing was of major im- 
portance, namely, that all those who entered into this covenant 
should "count the cost." Luke 14:25-33 was read and the implica- 
tions of discipleship clearly set forth before this step was taken. 
Brumbaugh states that the above scripture was always used 

in Germany when anyone was a candidate for baptism and admission 
into the church. Mack composed the first hymn for the church based 
on this text and beginning — "count the cost, says Jesus." This hymn 
was sung for many years at every baptismal scene connected with 
the Church of the Brethren.^ 

In addition to the above, the teachings of the church were always 
clearly set forth and the prospective member gave his promise to 
follow them. This procedure we believe characterized the church 
during the first hundred years of her history. 

Beginning about the year 1830 the minutes of the Yearly meet- 
ings have frequent references to the way applicants for baptism and 
membership should be instructed and received. We quote several 
references here. 

1835, Art. 13. What is the order to receive applicants for baptism? 

Ans. It is necessary that there should be self-knowledge, repentance 
and faith, together with scriptural instruction, and then that it may 
be done with the counsel of the church.' 

Also — 

1837, Art. 8. When persons desire to be received thru baptism into 
the church, is it necessary, to instruct them before baptism on the tak- 
ing of oaths, going to war, and the like, which according to our view 
is forbidden in the Gospel? 

Ans. The advice is, that such persons ought, if possible, to be visited 
before their baptism, and by all means to be previously instructed of 
the following points, viz : Of the taking of oaths, going to war and to 
muster, to use the power of the law contrary to the Gospel, and to 
conform to the fashions of this world in apparel and the like ; and they 
ought to state before their reception their willingness to refrain from 
all such things.* 

Another reference : 

1845, Art. 4. Where is the proper place for asking candidates for 
baptism concerning their faith in Christ — in or out of the Water? 
Ans. Considered, that the most proper place for making a public 

2. Brumbaugh, M. G., Bicentennial Addresses (Elgin, Illinois : Brethren Publishing 
House, 1908), pp. 17, 18. 

3. Kurtz, Henry, op. cit., p. 40. 

4. Ibid., pp. 37, 38. 


confession of our faith in Christ, is in the water, immediately before 
baptism. See I Tim. 6:12.^ 

A fourth reference : 

1848, Art. 5. Ought we receive any person into the church without 
baptism having been baptized by any other order of people? 

Ans. Considered, that this yearly meeting advise to be very careful 
in this matter, and give it as their unanimous conclusion, that it would 
be better to admit no person into the church without being baptized 
by the brethren.^ 

From these references we gather that much care was taken to 
ascertain a genuine Christian experience and properly instruct the 
applicant both privately and before the church. A certain negative 
emphasis is here evidenced. 

The practice of the church up until 1848 was quite varied. The 
yearly meeting of 1848 agreed upon a form of procedure which was 
to make for greater unity in this matter of preparing and receiving 
members into the church. Article three of the 1848 meeting reads 
as follows : 

Art. 3. How are we to receive members into the church, from their 
first application until they are baptized according to the Gospel? 

Ans. Considered, that inasmuch as there has been hitherto, a dif- 
ference in the practice, and in the form of words used in this ordinance 
and inasmuch as it is desirable to be, in all such matters, of one mind, 
and do and speak the same things, this meeting has unanimously 
agreed upon the following course and form of words, and recommend 
the same for adoption in all the churches : 

First, the applicant to be examined by two or more brethren : the case 
to be brought before the church council, before whom the applicant 
is to declare his agreement with us, in regard to the principles of being 
defenseless, non-swearing, and not conforming to the world; then in 
meeting, or at the water, to read from Matt. 18:10-22 in public, the 
candidate being asked if he will be governed by those Gospel rules; 
then prayer at the water, and in the water the following questions to 
be asked. 

Question : Dost thou believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, 
and that He has brought from heaven a saving Gospel? Answer: Yes. 

Question : Dost thou willingly renounce Satan, with all his pernicious 
ways, and all the sinful pleasures of this world? Answer: Yes. 

Question : Dost thou covenant with God, in Christ Jesus, to be faith- 
ful until death? Answer: Yes. 

Upon this, thy confession of faith, which thou hast made before 
God and these witnesses, thou shalt, for the remission of sins, be bap- 
tized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 
After baptism, while in the water, the administrator is to lay his hands 

5. Ibid. 

6. Ibid. 


on the head of the candidate, and offer up a prayer to God in his behalf, 
and then the member is to be received by hand and kiss, into Church- 

Two things are of special note here. First, the substitution of 
Matt. 18:10-22 for Luke 14:25-33. The teaching of Matthew 
emphasizes the gospel method of settling differences between breth- 
ren. The second thing to be noted is that the church at this time 
adopted a profession of faith. The questions, it is noted were to be 
asked after the candidate was in the water. Due to the nervous 
condition of the candidate while in the water a query of 1859 (cf. 
Art. 5) requested the Annual Meeting to permit the asking of the 
questions in the church, or on the bank of the stream. It was not 
thought wise at that time to alter the practice. Similar requests 
came before the conference in 1902 (cf. Art. 4) and again in 1907 
(cf. Art. 6) and were officially recommended in 1908. 

The church, according to the usual procedure has until recent 
years sat in council and has been asked her favor concerning the 
reception of an applicant. In former years the consent of each in- 
dividual member was given privately but later the practice of asking 
the church as a body was followed. Any one who opposed the recep- 
tion of an applicant was free to state his or her objections. The 
procedure in this respect was left optional to each arm of the church 
(cf. Art. 21, 1862). Many ministers today never formally ask for 
the consent of the congregation, in the reception of new members. 

Some irregularities from the procedure outlined in Art. 3, 1848 
led to a query asking Annual Meeting to more particularly define 
the language of the above said article. The answer of the Annual 
Meeting is as follows : 

Ans. (1) Not to take up arms in defense of our country. Not to 
resist evil, but to love our enemies. (2) Non-swearing, according to 
Matt. 5:34; James 5:12. (3) Going to law. Matt. 5:40, I Cor. 6:1. (4) 
Nonconformity, Rom. 12:1; I Peter 1:14; 3:3, 4. (5) Secret societies. 
Matt. 10 :26, 27 ; Luke 8 :17 ; II Cor. 6 :14, (6) Sisters wearing covering, 
I Cor. 11:5. (7) For reversing the questions, see Lk. 6:31.® 

The usual procedure In general is instruction by means of personal 
Interviews and examination before the church concerning the New 
Testament teachings as already listed above. The concise summary 
of the Beliefs and Practices of the Church of the Brethren entitled 

7. Revised Minutes of Annual Meeting, 1778-1898, p. 18. 

8. Revised Minutes of Annual Meeting, 1778-1898, p. 20. 


"The Church of the Brethren, formerly called Dunkers" is often 


The 18th chapter of Matt., in part, is usually read, and the applicant 
is asked if he will assent to follow the rule of the Master in cases of 
differences between himself and other members. Then he is also asked 
if he will agree to live up to the rules of the church and to help in her 
deliberations and organization and administration. Just before the 
act of baptism either when kneeling in the water or just before enter- 
ing, the candidates, according to conference decision of 1848 (see 
above) are asked three questions and upon this confession of faith 
are baptized for remission of sins into the name of the Father and the 
Son and the Holy Spirit.® 

The purpose of such a procedure is well stated in the Pastor's 
Manual as follows : 

To make sure that the individual is wholly sincere, that he knows 
at least the heart of the gospel, that he believes it truly, that he re- 
nounces and repents sin, and that he accepts Jesus Christ not only as 
his personal Saviour but as his Lord, whom he will henceforth follow 
wherever He may lead, obeying Him wholeheartedly in all things. . . . ^° 

Questionnaire Figures and Interpretation 

The question : 

I. (a). Do you follow the usual procedure (brief examination 
before baptism) in preparing prospective members? 
155 answered YES 20 answered NO 7 no answer on this question 
due to the fact that they were no longer active pastors. 

In the light of our definition of the "usual procedure" the above 
figures are subject to several correctives. No pastor is to be count- 
ed as following the usual procedure who has either a series of classes 
before or after baptism. Careful checking of the answers reveals 
that a number of pastors follow the usual procedure, and m addi- 
tion hold either a series of classes before baptism or after baptism 
and with some pastors, both. We quote representative statements 
to this effect : 

I always have a brief examination before baptism, even though 1 
have had a class for more extended instruction.^^ 

In stating that I follow the usual procedure in preparing prospective 
members T do not mean the brief examination is all that is given, nor 
that the contents of the examination are according to what might be 
termed the usual procedure. The examination consists of a brief 
resume of the study course as outlined.^^ 

9. Pastor's Manual (Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1923), p. 204. 

10. Ibid., p. 203. 

11, 12. Personal letter. 


The following corrections therefore must be set forth: 

100 follow the usual procedure, and that alone, having neither a series 

of classes before nor after baptism. 
75 rather than 20 is the actual number of those who do not follow the 
usual procedure, and that alone. 

14 (of the 75) report that they do not follow the usual procedure 
at all except for answering the three questions just before 
9 of the 14 have a series of classes before baptism. 

2 of the 14 have a series of classes for the newly baptized. 

3 of the 14 have a series of classes both before and after baptism. 
28 follow the usual procedure plus a preparatory class. 

19 follow the usual procedure plus a class for the newly baptized. 

18 follow the usual procedure plus both a preparatory class and 
a class for the newly baptized. (It is not clear whether both 
are used at the same time or the preparatory class one year 
and the class for the newly baptized at another time). 

Question I. (b). 

Do you consider this (the usual) procedure adequate? 
16 answered YES 162 answered NO 

The above questions only called for a "yes" or "no" response 
but some who answered the questionnaire wrote a few descriptive 
notes which may be considered fairly representative and deserving 
of interpretation. 

Some stated that they followed the usual procedure "in part," or 
in a "modified" form. The "modified form" is still considered usual. 
One pastor suggests that he has no set form or way of preparing 
applicants for church membership but allows the circumstances to 
dictate the procedure he follows. One general conclusion may be 
drawn here, namely, that there is considerable variation in the 
procedures followed throughout the brotherhood. 

The reasons of the sixteen who considered the usual procedure 
adequate may be summarized as follows : 

1. Five suggest that the applicants in most instances are from 
Dunker homes, and are familiar with church beliefs. 

2. Five express themselves as depending upon other agencies 
of the church such as the church school. Junior League, the B. Y. 
P. D., and the pulpit, to supply what is lacking in the usual procedure. 

3. Three expressed themselves as not having seen or felt the 
need of more than usual procedure. 

4. Several of the elderly brethren stated that the usual procedure 
did serve the need fairly adequately in their day of active experience^ . 
but they arc not sure it serves the needs of the present day. 


5. Sincere effort to do this wisely and well is taken for adequacy. 

It should be pointed out that when only 16 consider the usual 
procedure adequate and 100 follow it, there are at least 84 who 
are admittedly performing a strategic part of their work ineffective- 

There were at least ten who would not commit themselves to an 
unqualified "yes or no" answer but felt that the usual procedure 
was partially adequate but not wholly so. They validly suggest that 
the question of adequacy is dependent in part upon several factors 
such as the background of the applicant, the age of same, the ability 
of the minister, and so on. 

Objections to the usual procedure were: incompleteness, brevity, 
language too difficult for children, too legalistic and tends to make 
indifferent or do-nothing Christians, all of which add up to one thing, 
namely. Inadequacy. 

We list now a number of reasons and excuses for following, and 
for doing nothing more than the usual procedure of preparing ap- 
plicants for church membership in spite of the generally recognized 
inadequacy of this procedure. 

1. A few consider the procedure adequate. 

2. The inability to work out a practical plan by which to hold a 

3. Conservatism: Unwillingness to break precedent of baptiz- 
ing applicants immediately upon confession. 

4. Matters of indifference, inertia, inconvenience, and lack of 

5. The idea of a special class either before or after baptism 
would imply that Sunday School teachers do not do their work ef- 

6. Fear the innovation of class before baptism would minimize 
the necessity, the place, and importance of the conversion experience. 

7. The fear of formalism and scholasticism. 

8. The fear of criticism for using undue means to gain numbers 
or members. 

9. The fear of misunderstanding and lack of co-operation from 
the home. 

10. There is no better way outlined and provided by our denomi- 
nation. Some did not know of course of preparation offered by our 
own church. 



More than one-half of those answering the questionnaire follow 
the usual procedure but only one sixteenth of these consider this 
procedure adequate. They use it in spite of its inadequacy and be- 
cause they lack some better procedure. Less than one-half have 
attempted to find a more adequate procedure of preparing applicants 
for church membership by supplementing the usual procedure with 
either a special preparatory class or a special class for the newly 
baptized. At present there are four definite procedures of preparing 
and training applicants and new members for Christian living and 
effective participation in the total life of the Church of the Brethren. 
We list them in the order of relative current use on the basis of 175 
answers : 

1. The usual procedure 100 

2. The preparatory class 58 

3. The post-baptismal class 43 

4. Combination of 2 and 3 21 

Of course, to these must be added the ongoing process of Chris- 
tian education in the church school and other groups within the 



The practice of having special classes of instruction for the newly 
baptized is of earlier origin than having special classes for applicants. 
There are a few who rather illogically argue that the class for the 
newly baptized is the only scriptural procedure. We believe, how- 
ever, the true order of the Great Commission is: teach (make dis- 
ciples or pupils), baptize, then continue to teach "all things." cf. 
Matt. 28:19. We believe the real objection of those who look 
askance at the special preparatory class is that they fear such a 
procedure will take the place of conversion; that knowledge will 
take the place of faith; that form will take the place of experience. 
It is no where argued by the author that such classes a^e a,n end in 


themselves, but only a means to an end, namely : a more intelligent, 
whole-souled commitment to Christ and the program of His Church. 
There is another reason which makes a special class of instruction 
for the newly baptized more acceptable to some than a preparatory 
class. This inheres in our method of evangelism. Dr. Earl Bowman 
very aptly expresses it in the following words : 

The only kind of class I have conducted has been for the newly bap- 
tized. Under our present system this appears to me the most practical, 
for we still have evangelistic meetings, and we cannot tell until after 
such meetings just who are candidates for baptism. Custom at least 
dictates that baptism should immediately follow public profession of 
faith, without waiting for a course of study. If we could get away 
from the older methods of evangelism then I think the class for new 
members, prior to baptism and formal reception into the church, would 
be the better thing.^ 

All too often the attitude of the pastor and the church, though 
they may be unconscious of it, appears to the new convert to be one 
of "sink or swim." The new convert is left to shift for himself. The 
church appears to forget that he is a new born babe in Christ and 
needs special help and guidance in matters of growth and develop- 
ment. He must be made to feel at home in the church else he may 
become homesick for worldly friends and things. "Feeling at home" 
involves a great deal; recognition, love, and friendship; intelligent 
understanding of the church, what it believes and stands for, what it 
aims to do, how it endeavors to do it, and how one may have a share 
in this work; what are the duties and privileges of one who belongs 
to such an organization. The new convert becomes a member of 
"the family of God" and this family should discharge its family 
obligations so that the new member may grow up to be a worthy 
representative of the family, understanding and participating in 
its various activities. 

Some have recognized their responsibility and have sought to dis- 
charge it through special sermons, and visits; giving literature to 
read; asking some active member friend to give informal attention; 
and through the regular services. We would not minimize these 
efforts in the least, but our study here concerns those who have at- 
tempted through the means of classes to more adequately meet the 
needs of the new converts. 

1. Personal letter. 


Questionnaire Results and Interpretation 

Question III. (a). 

Do you hold a special class for the newly baptized? 

43 answered YES. 
139 answered NO. 
34 (of the 182 answers) prefer a special class for the newly baptized 

to a preparatory class or combination of these. 
24 who have held neither a preparatory class or a class for the newly 

baptized prefer the latter. 
10 who have held classes for the newly baptized give preference to 

the same. 
12 who have held classes for the newly baptized give preference to 

a class both before and after baptism. 
4 who have held classes for the newly baptized give preference to 

a preparatory class alone. 
78 (of the 182 answers) give their preference for both preparatory 

classes and classes for the newly baptized. 

The question above might more accurately be stated as follows : 
Have you held a special class? There is no way to determine the 
frequency or regularity with which such classes have been held. The 
answers are given in terms of the man's entire pastoral experience. 
Several state that they have only held one or two classes in their 
whole experience. It may be that others always have such a class 
when new members are received. Some have experienced very satis- 
fying results with their classes, others have not. There are always 
difficulties chief of which are the problems of getting together and 

Only a small number described their procedure with these classes. 
Two spoke of having the class at the regular Sunday School period. 
One spoke of using ten or fifteen minutes each Sunday morning for 
a short time to give new converts a fairly thorough knowledge of 
our doctrines. Another spoke of devoting a short period one Sun- 
day a month for doctrinal instruction, adapted to cTiildren and young 
people. One pastor met with the new converts for five Sunday after- 
noons giving them instructions in how to live the Christian life, and 
making them better acquainted with the history, doctrines and prac- 
tices of the Church of the Brethren. Another pastor speaks of his 
good success by inviting new converts to the parsonage one night 
a week for informal discussion of the Christian life and the work of 
the church. Still another spoke of using th6 Wednesday night pray- 
er meeting hour for doctrinal discussions giving the. newly baptizecj 


a special invitation to attend. These are the methods followed by 
some of our pastors. 

We list here the subjects which were dealt with in these classes 
for the newly baptized. 

1. The Meaning of Dedicating- One's Life to Christ. 

2. The Meaning of Church Membership — Obligations and Privi- 

3. The Means of Developing the Devotional Life — with emphasis 
on Bible Study, Prayer, Church Attendance. 

4. Teaching on the Presence, Purpose, and Power of the Holy 
Spirit for everyday life. 

5. The Technique of Personal Witnessing. 

6. The History of the Church of the Brethren. 

7. The Organization and Workings of the Local Church. 

8. The Importance of a Definite Personal Part in Kingdom Building. 

Question IIL (b). 

The second part of this question reads as follows : 

What difference would you make in the subject matter used before 
and after baptism? 

Not many answered this part of the question but two points of 
view are represented in the following statements : 

The aim and purpose in either case determines the materials used. 
And in either case as I see it, the purpose is to help develop a more 
intelligent, more church-minded, more church-conscious, a more loyal 
and personally responsible church membership. Therefore from my 
point of view there would be very little difference.^ 

There are certain things needed in becoming a good member of the 
Christian fellowship, and a participating member of the local church. 
Some would best be experienced before baptism, e. g., the great doc- 
trines of God, Christ, Man, Sin, Salvation, the ideals of the denomina- 
tion, the meaning of the sacraments (especially baptism), stewardship, 
and the life of service or sharing in building the Kingdom. 

Some things seem to fit best after decision has been made and Bap- 
tism administered, namely : 

1. The How of a Vital Prayer Relationship. 

2. The Organization and Workings of the Local Church. 

3. The finding of a definite personal project in kingdom building. 

4. The Technique of personal witnessing and evangelism.^ 

We summarize and set forth the differences on the basis of the 
Before baptism : 

I. You appeal for an acceptance of Christ and a Commitment 
to His way of life. 

2, 3. Personal letter. 


2. You should deal with the meaning of salvation. 

3. You should deal with the meaning and value of Baptism and 
prepare them for the rite. 

4. You should help them to see what they give up and what they 
take on. 

5. You help them to a real experience. 
After baptism : 

1. You should seek to lead them to action on their commitment. 

2. You should deal with the meaning of church membership. 

3. You should help them to realize the possibilities of Christian 
growth and what they must do to grow into the fulness of the stature 
of Christ. 

4. You give an opportunity for testimony. 

5. You seek to ground them in the truth and the church. 


I have followed the procedure of having a class for the newly bap- 
tized with much success, but think a preparatory class more practical.* 

I believe better results could be achieved with a class after baptism 
as the folks would be freer in their responses. There is a great lack 
in indoctrinating our members.^ 

I have been profoundly interested in a course of instruction for 
applicants . . . also some special course for young members of the 

If I had the proper material I should like to give a course of study 
after baptism.''' 

After baptism I have them come to the parsonage — one night a week 
for special instruction in Christian growth. And I find it works well. 
They become quite anxious to grow. The more I work this way the 
more I enjoy it. Members of the class will come through all kinds of 
weather for the instruction, if properly taught.^ 

These classes have been held from one to twelve periods, and they 
have not been very different from those classes for others (preparatory) 
except that I have put more emphasis on attendance and support of 
church (in financial way, service of church, speaking and praying for 
the church) meeting temptations and receiving guidance for life. I 
feel that these classes have been very beneficial. I have become better 
acquainted with the new members and they have been able to ask 
questions and unburden their minds of certain problems. I feel they 
have been of untold value in binding these folks to the church. This 
has been especially true of the adults who come into church.® 

I have found the class after baptism unsuccessful. The problem of 
getting a group to attend a class regularly has been one of my prob- 
lems. I would have a class after baptism only in an emergency.^® 

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Personal letter, ' 



Classes for the newly baptized are of earlier origin and are sub- 
ject to less criticism than preparatory classes. Our method of 
evangelism, predominantly that of "revivals" is more conducive to 
classes for the newly baptized than preparatory classes. However, 
58 have held preparatory classes while only 43 have held classes for 
the newly baptized. The importance and value of classes for the 
newly baptized is realized. Ten of those who held classes for the 
newly baptized think this is the best procedure. Twenty-four who 
have held neither type of class think the class for the newly baptized 
would be the best. Twelve who have held classes for the newly bap- 
tized think it would be best to hold both types of classes. There were 
3S of the total number of answers who if they did not oppose a class 
for the newly baptized felt that a preparatory class was sufficient. 
There were 78, however, who favored holding both types, that is, 
a class both before and after baptism. Adding together the 78 who 
favor both types and the 34 who favor a class for the newly baptized 
alone we have 112 who actually favor a class for the newly baptized. 
Some have had good success in holding such classes, while others 
have not. There are some who would make no difference in the sub- 
ject matter used in classes before and after baptism while others 
feel there should be a difference. 


Statistical Results 

The second major question in this study is: Have you held a 
preparatory class for church membership? 

58 of the 182 answer YES 
124 of the 182 answer NO 

The companion question of the above is : Is there a need for such 
a class? 

154 of the 182 answer YES 
16 of the 182 answer NO 
4 of the 182 answer Uncertain 
8 of the 182 answer Yes, sometime.s and. in- some places. . 


Under these two questions were 15 subordinate questions, rela- 
tive to procedure in such classes, the answers of which we shall inter- 
pret presently. 

From the above we note that approximately one-third of the 
pastors answering the questionnaire have held preparatory classes. 
We are not to conclude that all of this number make a regular prac- 
tice of this procedure, for some have indicated that only once or 
twice in their experience have they attempted such work. We shall 
discover a little later that some of the 124 who say they have not 
held preparatory classes have held special classes for the newly bap- 

The answers concerning the need of such classes show that ap- 
proximately 85 per cent feel the need of such classes while only 33 
per cent are attempting to meet that need. This means that 96 men 
feel the need, but have not found a satisfactory procedure for meet- 
ing the need. These men are apparently seeking or waiting for some 
help in this matter. Fifty-seven of the ninety-six who have not held 
the classes were wiUing to think into the problem deeply enough 
to make some tentative statement of what their procedure might 
be if they were to conduct such classes. The questionnaire has some 
value here if nowhere else if it serves to lead 57 men to think more 
deeply on a real problem, than they had thought before. The men 
who took enough of their time to answer the 15 subordinate ques- 
tions have taken the first step toward a solution of their own prob- 
lem. One of the men definitely suggested that the questionnaire 
would help him to hold such a class. Several who had not held such 
classes prior to receiving the questionnaire stated their purpose of 
holding such a class during the spring of 1939. 

Definition and Clarification of Terms 

The preparatory class is nothing more than a modern version of 
Alexander Mack's insistence on the principle that one should "count 
well the cost" and thus be fully prepared before taking this most 
important step of life. We would like to emphasize preparatory 
and admit that there is nothing final in the procedure. The class 
therefore is not an end but only a beginning. 

The special preparatory class need not imply that the Sunday 
School teachers have executed their tasks ineffectively; the class is 


merely a supplement to their best efforts with a specific purpose in 

Historical Developments Leading to Preparatory Classes: 

The Church of the Brethren, though always cautious of endors- 
ing anything which might be taken as a creedal statement, has from 
time to time moved in the direction of authoritative statement of 
the doctrines of the church and the interpretation of them. 

The first work of this type was published in 1919 under the title 

"Studies in Doctrine and Devotion." The book was pubHshed after 

five years of study. In 1913 a petition was presented to Annual 

Conference requesting that steps be taken — 

, . . to supply what has been thought by many to be a real need of 
the church, a small book for converts, the object being to instruct and 
indoctrinate these converts in the principles and practices of true 

More directly pertinent to the idea of preparatory classes is the 
interest aroused in this matter since 1926 by Gospel Messenger 
articles, personal letters and conferences which finally issued in the 
following query to Annual Conference in 1928. 

Whereas, there seems to be an apparent decline in attitude to matters 
of faith, doctrine, and practice as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, and 
as held by the church, and 

Whereas, there seems to be a want of effective instruction material 
to meet the requirements both junior and senior coming into the 
church, and 

Whereas, much of the curricula of instruction used in the Sunday 
School and young people's work is inadequate to build Christ-likeness 
in spirit, thought and expression in all the different grades and depart- 
ments of church work, 

Therefore, we, the members of the First Church of the Brethren, 
Ashland, Ohio, beg leave to ask Annual Meeting to appoint a com- 
mittee of able and representative brethren to pursue a careful study 
of the field, and to make recommendations at the 1929 Conference.^ 

The standing committee supported by Conference referred this 
to the Board of Christian Education and the Ministerial boards 
for study and report to the conference in 1929. 

In support of the query, J. Perry Prather spoke (in part) as fol- 
lows, before the Conference : 

In this day and age of the world, we realize that we are facing as a 
church different problems and that if we as a church remain as a dis- 

1. Minutes of Annual Meeting, 1913, p. 4 (Brethren Publishing House). 
3. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1928 (Brethren Publishing House), p. 128. 


tinctive church and a separate people, we must have a course of instruc- 
tion for our boys and girls, indoctrinating them in the message and 
doctrines of the church. ... It is most difficult to indoctrinate our 
people from the pulpit as our pastors used to do. We must do it in 
pastor's classes or in private. That makes a difficult problem. Some 
pastors have classes. Others do not. 

The Church of the Brethren has been doing her indoctrinating just 
at baptism or after and by occasional doctrinal sermons. It moves me 
and stirs my heart when I know that people that have been in the 
Church of the Brethren for years hardly know when our church was 
founded, could not tell you the founder of our church nor any of our 
great doctrines nor defend them. I believe the Church of the Brethren 
has a message and that is the spirit back of this paper. 

I felt, as pastor of the church from which this comes and representa- 
tive of the District, I want to make a plea that the Church of the 
Brethren formulate a course of instruction, incorporate it in our Sun- 
day-school lessons, call it a catechism or what you please, I don't 
care, so that our boys and girls know what the church stands for. In 
this day when spurious doctrines of every kind are taught and preach- 
ed on every street corner, it means if we as a church shall continue, 
we as a church must indoctrinate and begin with the youth.* 

The report of the Boards in 1929 was as follows: 

The Board of Religious Education and the General Ministerial 
Board made a thorough study of the field covered by the query of 
1928. The mind of the whole Brotherhood was sought by means of an 
extensive questionnaire. The result of this survey reflects urgent 
and varied needs. We therefore recommend that the entire subject 
be placed in the hands of the Committee on Curriculum of the Board 
of Religious Education with the request that this text or texts be cor- 
related with the curriculum to cover the needs for the pastor and 
church school, and that same be brought out and if possible, be reported 
at next year's Conference for adoption or rejection.^ 

This report was adopted with the amendment that an outline of 
the forthcoming course be presented before conference for approval. 
The 1930 report Is as follows: 

The Board has given careful consideration to the preparation of 
doctrinal materials covering the needs of the pastor and church school. 
It is felt that this material should be an integral part of the total church 
program. Considerable doctrinal instruction must be and is included 
in the regular courses of study in the Sunday-school, the Sunday eve- 
ning meeting and other instructional meetings of the church. 

The Board is of the conviction, however, that there is need for special 
texts for use in teaching the doctrinal principles of the church. The 
following suggested chapter headings indicate the scope of a text for 
Juniors and are submitted for your approval. 

4. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1928, pp. 128, 129. 

5. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1929, p. 52. 


1. How to Make the Most of One's Life. 

2. Making the Most of Life for Others. 

3. Christ Our Leader. 

4. What the Church Is. 

5. What the Church of the Brethren Is. 
- 6. The Work of the Minister. 

7. The Church in the Community. 

8. The Church at Home and Abroad, 

9. Church Ordinances. 

10. How One Becomes a Member. 

11. What One Can Do as a Member. 

12. How to Grow. 

Additional texts will be provided as rapidly as is consistent with the 
total curriculum development.® 

The report was accepted and approved and the result was the 
publication of "Finding the Way" in 1932. This was prepared for 
Junior classes of the Sunday School and is still available in the 
graded lessons series. A few of the pastors report that they have 
used this and found it helpful for this age group. We may fairly 
conclude that this course of study has not been used as widely as it 
should have been, partially because it is not known by some of the 
pastors, and because the graded lessons are not used by a great many 
Sunday Schools. This book was a good start in the right direction, 
but it has been felt that something more was needed for the Inter- 

The above represents an unprecedented step, for, whereas the 
church had previously approved of a book of doctrinal instruction 
for new converts, now, for the first time she approves of a special 
book on doctrinal teaching which is intended to prepare the young 
people for more intelligent decision for Christ and the Church. Here 
we have the introduction of preparatory classes for church member- 

Thus we observe that "preparatory classes" as such are a relative- 
ly recent development In the Brotherhood. It is true that the above 
mentioned book was included In the regular Sunday School curriculum 
and has probably been more used by teachers than by the pastor. 
Before 1925 there were a few pastors who held special classes pre- 
paratory to church membership but they represented the exception 
rather than the general practice. Furthermore, they had to prepare 
their own courses or use materials published by other denomination- 
al boards for this purpose. 

6. Annual Meeting Report, 1930, p. 40. 


The past five years have witnessed increasing concern and inter- 
est, and activity in this field not alone in our own denomination but 
also in many others to which we will give special attention in a later 
chapter. In our own church several pastors have prepared and pub- 
lished catechetical booklets of doctrinal nature and courses of study 
designed for use in preparatory or post-baptismal classes. Several 
of these which are known to the writer are as follows, there may be 
others of which he does not know. 

"Seed Thoughts for Young Christians," Galen K. Walker. 
"What a Young Christian Ought to Know," W. G. Nyce. 
"The Rite of Baptism," (tract), William Kinsey. 

The most recent, and unquestionably the most thorough and ex- 
tensive work of this type known to the writer, is that prepared along 
the line of the best present day educational procedure, by Jesse D. 
Reber, now pastor at Cleveland. This work has been used experi- 
mentally for several years by a number of our pastors and is now 
published in revised form under the title "Preparing for Church 
Membership." It is available to pastors through the Brethren Pub- 
lishing House. 

Interpretation of the Subordinate Questions 

It would be impossible to give any statistical summary of the 
widely varying answers given to these questions therefore we shall 
attempt a brief descriptive summary of each point. We have noted 
above that fifty-seven attempted to fill out these blanks on the basis 
of what they thought they would do if they were to hold such a 
class. The summary which follows, however, is made of those who 
have had actual experience with such classes. 

1. The Name of Class, and Ages Included. — ^A number did not 
give any answer for this. Several mentioned that they did not give 
the class a special name. The two names most often mentioned were 
the following : 

Pastor's Training Class, and Preparatory Class for Church Member- 

Other names which were suggested are : 

1. Class for baptism 

2. Catechetical class 

3. Confirmation class 

7. Reber, J. D., Preparing for Church Membership (Elgin, Illinois: Brethren 
Publishing House), (1938), pp. ii. 


4. Applicants' class 

5. Indoctrination class 

6. Christian Beginners' Class. 

Whatever name is given it should be attractive and should cor- 
rectly denote the purpose and function of such a class. 

There was a wide variation of ages and age ranges mentioned. 
One suggests that children six years of age would take part In such 
classes. Another suggests that only those 18 and above are enrolled. 
Several suggest that those of Junior and Intermediate age should be 
in such classes. Others mention having separate classes for these 
groups. Some say all those above age 9, others, all those above 10. 
One suggests that you divide the group into two classes, all above 
age sixteen and all below sixteen. The majority of the pastors state 
that the ages range from 9-22, and there are different groupings 
within this range such as 9-12, 10-14, 12-20, 10-22, etc. The answers 
given indicate considerable violation of the accepted and normal age 
groupings. For best results it is necessary to separate children and 
adults. The matter of age has been a large problem to many. The 
problem is usually solved when one takes regularly those of Junior 
or Intermediate age and enrolls all who are willing. 

2. Number of Sessions and Length of Each. — The number of 
sessions ranges from two to twenty-seven. Fourteen have five or few- 
er sessions. Twenty-eight have from six to twelve sessions with the 
class. Several speak of having 13, which suggests that they adapt 
their course to the regular quarter of Sunday School work. In most 
Instances there Is one session per week. 

The length of the session varies from twenty minutes to a full 
hour. The majority of them give a full hour to this Instruction. 

The number of sessions and the length are determined by the 
place, the day, the time of day and local circumstances. More ex- 
tended courses may be held In some places than others. If the course 
is too short It Is bound to be sketchy. Ordinarily any number of 
sessions Is a step In advance of the brief examination of the usual 

3. Time of Meeting and Season. — Twenty speak of meeting 
their classes on Sunday. It was not always indicated at what hour 
of the day. Some meet the class at the regular Sunday School hour, 
others on Sunday evening before the regular evening service. Twen- 


ty-seven meet their classes on a week day, some on Saturday, others, 
during the week, after public school is out. 

The majority of the pastors hold their class during the pre-Easter 
or Lenten Season. Fall and winter seem to suit best in a few places. 
Summer, in connection with Bible School, suits others best. One 
speaks of holding the class just prior to a series of evangelistic meet- 
ings. Another speaks of holding the class after such a series of meet- 
ings. These matters of day, time, and season have to be worked out 
to suit the local conditions. 

4. Place of Meeting. — The church is the place of meeting as 
answered by thirty-six of the pastors. Eleven others speak of using 
the pastor's home or study. 

5. How Participants are Enlisted. — ^The ways of enlisting par- 
ticipants for the preparatory class are as follows : 

1. By means of public announcement and personal invitation. 

2. Through the Church School. 

a. Decision day 

b. All in the Junior and Intermediate departments 

c. The regular intermediate class (in small church) 

d. Graduates of the Junior League 

3. Through conference with parent and prospective member. 

4. Through evangelistic meetings, the applicants for baptism. 

6. Prepare Own Course or Follow Prepared Course? 

38 answer that they prepare their own course. 
. 11 answer that they follow some prepared course. 

The fact that thirty-eight prepare their own course is largely due 
to the fact that this was all they could do unless they were to use 
courses prepared by other denominations. It is significant that all of 
these thirty-eight men are in favor of having the Brotherhood pro- 
mote a unified guide course (subject to their adaptation) to better 
prepare prospective members for church membership. 

When prepared courses (of Brethren origin) have been followed, 
they have been : 

Kurtz, Blough, Ellis Doctrines and Devotion 

Barnes, Edith Finding the Way 

Reber, J. D. Preparing for Church Membership 

Nyce, W. G. What a Young Christian Ought to Know 

Other helpful materials of Brethren origin mentioned in prepar- 
ing courses were : 

Moore, J. M. New Testament Doctrines 

Kinsey, Wm. The Rite of Baptism 


Bowman, R. D. The Meaning of Church Membership 

Miller, A. B. Covenant of Church Membership 

Covenant of Church Loyalty 
Pamphlets and Tracts on Peace, Temperance, etc. 

Selected materials from various sources other than our own 

denomination have been used. The two specifically mentioned are : 

Porter, Eliot The Duties of a Church Member to the Church 

Cross, Edward Conversations with the Training Class 

7. The Major Outline of the Course. — The answers to this 
were expressed in different terms but there was essentially close 
agreement. The statements of some were more complete and de- 
tailed than others. The points listed below have been included in 
preparatory classes but not all have been a part of any one man's 
procedure. We summarize under three main heads : 

I. What it Means to Be a Christian. 

1. The Importance of Christian Living. 

2. How to begin. 

3. What a Christian Believes — Fundamental Doctrines. 

4. What a Christian Does : Christian Growth and Conduct. 
Availing Oneself of the Means of Growth. 

Ways of Serving Christ in our World. 

II. What it Means to LTnite with the Church. 

1. Biblical Teaching about the Church. 

2. General History of the Church. 

3. Denominational Relation to the Church Universal. 

III. What it Means to Be a Member of the Church of the Brethren. 

1. History of the Church of the Brethren. 

2. How one becomes a member. 

Give understanding, appreciation, and special preparation 
for the rite of baptism. 

3. Brethren Emphases : 

a. The Importance and Meaning of Symbols, 

b. The Ideals of the Brethren such as. No Creed, New 
Testament our Rule of Faith and Practice, Peace, 
Temperance, Simple Life, etc. 

4. Instruction in how to worship and act in church. 

5. Duties of a Loyal Church Member. 

6. Information concerning the organization and administra- 
tion of local, district, and general church program. 

No attempt has been made to present a logical outline. This is 
rather a composite outline of what is generally included in such 

8. Chief Aim and Purpose. — The aim and purpose of a pre- 
paratory class for church membership appears self-evident. There 


are several ways of stating this. The following sentences cover the 
great variety of answers : 

1. To give a broad basis for religious life and experience. 

2. To help them to "count the cost" and know the requirements of 
discipleship, and Christian living. 

3. To give historical and doctrinal background leading to an in- 
telligent acceptance of Christ. 

4. To acquaint applicant with the aim and purpose of Christ and 
the church. 

5. To cultivate a love, loyalty and devotion for Christ and the 

6. To prepare for joyful, active participation and creative service. 
In a word to deepen the meaning of Christian decision and church 


9. Method of Teaching. — This question called for checking one 
or more of the following methods of teaching. The tabulation is 
given also. 

Lecture 15 

Question and Answer 30 

Project 4 

Discussion 35 

Reading and Recitation 15 

Memory Work 11 

It should be pointed out that in every case more than one of the 
above methods were checked indicating a combination of methods 
which is necessary to effective teaching. 

10. Results Justify Efforts. — Only 36 give a definite answer here. 
33 answer YES 

3 answer Questionable 
The thought of this is to determine whether or not the class 
actually does more adequately prepare the prospective member for 
more intelligent and active church membership. 

11. Chief Difficulties to Confront. — ^A summary of the major 
difficulties confronted is as follows : 

1. The lack of adequate course. 

2. The feeling of inadequacy to teach such a course. 

3. The conflicting work of the public school. 

4. The problem of attendance, due to time, and scattered residence. 

5. The problem of adequate grading. 

6. The lack of time on the part of the ministei*. 

7. The lack of interest, co-operation, and support of the ichurch and 


8. The problem of discipline and maintaining pupil's interest. 

9. The lack of home and church training before and after class. 

There were 8 who stated that they had no difficulties or if they 
liad, were able to work out a solution. 

12. How did you consummate the work of such a class? 

The following are the ways suggested : 

1. By having decision day service. 

2. By evangelistic effort, Easter ingathering. 

3. By review of class study, encouraging them to make their deci- 

4. By leaving final decision for each to make in his own home. 

5. By careful questioning, after decision to make sure of adequate 

6. By following the usual procedure preliminary to baptism and 
church membership. 

7. By baptismal service for those who are ready. 

8. With program given before the church by members of the class. 

9. By a reception for all who become members. 

The writer admits that the above questions may not have been 
entirely clear to all but the statements given above fit the question. 

13. TFhat measures zvere taken to conserve the work of this 
class? Apparently this question was not fully understood by all. It 
would appear that some have made no conscious, and planned ef- 
forts to conserve the work of the class. The following measures 
are being used: 

1. An impressive baptismal service. 

2. Giving a printed booklet to each. 

3. By having special class for the newly baptized. 

4. By having a reception and social for the new members. 

5. Enrolling them in the regular Sunday School classes. 

6. Give each some special task. 

7. Special sermons for the sake of new members. 

8. Special pastoral care for some time. 

9. Urging them to church attendance and regular life and work in 
the church. 

10. By providing warm personal and group fellowship for new 

11. By asking some substantial old member to take a special interest 
in one of the new members. 

12. Seek the co-operation of home and teachers in this. 

13. Providing other opportunities for growth such as training 
schools, camps, special conferences, etc. 

14. Daily living the Christian life. • 



We summarize the findings of this chapter as follows : 

1. Approximately one-third of those who answered have held 
preparatory classes. 

2. Eighty-five per cent feel the need of such classes and desire 
help in planning and holding them. 

3. Objections to the preparatory class grow out of misconcep- 
tions about it. 

4. Where classes have been held, they have been held for chil- 
dren and young people chiefly. 

5. There has been definite interest and development of materials 
for preparatory classes in the Church of the Brethren since 1926. 

6. There is considerable variation of procedure among those 
who hold classes. 

7. The name of the class, ages, number of sessions, time and 
place of meeting, ways of enlisting participants are determined in the 
light of local circumstances. 

8. The majority of those who have held classes prepared their 
own courses by drawing from various sources including other de- 

9. Many who were not holding classes indicated that the lack 
of an adequate guide course was a major reason for not doing so. 

10. The major outline of such courses is to develop the implica- 
tions of: 

a. What it Means to Be a Christian. 

b. What it Means to Be a Member of the Church. 

c. What it Means to Be a Member of the Church of the Brethren. 

11. The chief aims or purposes of the class are: 

a. To provide an intelligent basis for acceptance of Christ and the 
Christian way of life. 

b. To provide a fuller appreciation of the meaning of church mem- 
bership and the individual's participation in the total program of 
the church. 

12. Those who have held such classes agree that the results justi- 
fy the efforts. 

13. There are difficulties to meet in such a procedure but none 
arc wholly unsurmountable. 


14. Ideally, the work of such classes is consummated with an in- 
telligent, whole-souled decision for Christ, and entrance of the 
church through Christian baptism. 

15. There are a number of ways to conserve the work of such 

16. There are numerous values accruing to class member, church, 
and pastor. 

17. We wish to indicate from part IV of the questionnaire that 

a. Thirty-five prefer a special class to prepare applicants above all 
other procedures. 

b. Seventy-eight prefer both a class before and after baptism. 

c. Thus 113 strongly favor having a special preparatory class. 

18. One hundred fifty favor the Brotherhood promoting a unified 
guide course (subject to adaptation and modification) to better pre- 
pare prospective members. 



Editor, F. E. Mallott, Professor of Church History Bethany Biblical Seminary 
Assistant Editor, Elgin S. Moyer Contributing Editor, L. D, Rose 

Volume II APRII^-JULY, 1941 Number Three 


Retrospect and Prospect 155 

The Agape or Love-feast 156 

John D. Long 

The Doctrinal Beliefs of the Waldenses 166 

Jacob F. Replogle 

Description of the Brethren's Almanac of 1874 183 

Claxton Helms 

The Beginnings of Modern Nationalism : 

Seedbed of the Protestant Reformation 185 

Andrew H. Holderreed 
Book Reviews 201 

Index to Volume II 204 


John D. Long, minister of Church of the 
Brethren. Graduate of Juniata College. B. D. 
'41 of Bethany Biblical Seminary. A pastor 
and a notable preacher. 

Claxton Helms, associate librarian of Mc- 
pherson College, McPherson, Kansas. 

Jacob F. Replogle, a graduate of Bridge- 
water College. Home address is the nation's 
capital. Minister of the Church of the Breth- 
ren with a pastoral record. In residence at 
the Seminary and in the summer of 1941, 
pastor of the historic old Pipe Creek Church 
in Maryland. 

Andrew H. Holderreed, minister of the 
Church of the Brethren. Native of State of 
Washington. Pastoral experience and in 
Seminary residence. A native aptitude for 
historical studies. 


This number closes Volume II of Schwarzenau. Ninety per cent 
of our subscriptions expire with this issue. It must needs be so, as 
our bookkeeping must be kept very simple. 

The other ten per cent of our subscribing membership have al- 
ready sent m subscriptions for Volume III. 

This murL-o o«^*-U^~ J — Li- 1 -r-r , — 



The Alexander Mack 
Historical Society 

3435 Van Buren St., CHICAGO, ILL. 

I desire (to become) (to continue) a subscribing mem,ber of The 
Alexander Mack Historical Society and understand that in payment 
of dues of one dollar ($1.00) for the current year, I am entitled to rc; 
ceive the Society's Journal, Vol. III. 



The Schwarzenau Prize Essay contest, sponsored by Mr. Will 
Judy of the Judy Publishing Company, closed April 30. The results 
will be announced in our next issue— in which we hope to present some 
of the results of the Contest for our readers' perusal. 



John D. Long, minister of Church of the 
Brethren. Graduate of Juniata College. B. D. 
'41 of Bethany Biblical Seminary. A pastor 


This number closes Volume II of Schwarzenau. Ninety per cent 
of our subscriptions expire with this issue. It must needs be so, as 
our bookkeeping must be kept very simple. 

The other ten per cent of our subscribing membership have al- 
ready sent in subscriptions for Volume III. 

This marks another double number. Volume II consists of three 
numbers. We are absorbing the July number (which on a quarterly 
basis would be the first issue of Volume III) into the last number of 
Volume II. 

We beheve we can say with confidence to our readers that Volume 
III will also consist of three numbers. 

It will be necessary to have the full number of four hundred Sub- 
scribing Members of the Society at one dollar ($1.00) per annum 
before we can stay on a quarterly basis. The deficit of our first year of 
publication was too large to be repeated annually. 

We have received many kind words which encourage us to proceed 
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have more Gift Subscriptions. If all who sincerely in intention sup- 
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sary) the future of our journal would be assured. 

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Finally — whoever heard of a semiannual journal which issued 
three numbers in the year? 

The Schwarzenau Prize Essay contest, sponsored by Mr. Will 
Judy of the Judy Publishing Company, closed April 30. The results 
will be announced in our next issue — in which we hope to present some 
of the results of the Contest for our readers' perusal. 



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We are proud of the contents of this number. We present the first 
article of an historico-doctrinal character in the article on the "Agape 
or Love-feast." We welcome this as our leader for this number. 


John D. Long 

The purpose of this paper is to make a brief study of the love- 
feast as practiced in the Church of the Brethren. The study will be 
divided into three parts: First, the meaning and symbolical values 
of the agape. Second, the historical background in the New Testa- 
ment which the Brethren used as the basis for their observance. 
Third, some present practices in observing the love-feast in various 
churches of the Brethren today, based largely on 127 questionnaires 
which were filled out by ministers in different parts of the brother- 

L Meaning and Symbolical Values 

The word "agape" is the Greek term for love, used by ecclesias- 
tical writers to signify the social feasts of friendship, love and kind- 
ness in use among primitive Christians. It is very probable they were 
instituted in memory of the last supper of Jesus with His disciples 
which supper was concluded before the institution of the Eucharist. 

These feasts tended to unify the group and meant brotherhood 
in the real sense. "Rich and poor, master and slave, sat together at 
one table merging all distinctions of rank in fraternal union and fel- 


lowship. The feast began and closed with thanksgiving and song. 
The poor and widows and orphans were the chief partakers of the 
Agape. All these worthy recipients ate from the common dish."^ 

It is probable that the agape referred to a full meal and was some- 
thing additional to the bread and wine of the eucharist. John ( 13 :2) 
and Paul (I Cor. 11 :20) refer to it as the Lord's Supper, using the 
Greek word deipnos which ordinarily meant a full evening meal. 
This word is always translated "feast" or "supper" when used else- 
where in the Gospels. "Not only does the term mean a supper, a full 
evening meal, but it is distinctly stated that it is not to be identified 
with the eucharistic emblems, for we read 'as they were yet eating 
Jesus took bread and blessed it.' They had been eating during that 
long discourse. Paul describes the institution of the eucharist 'after 
supper.' I Cor. 1 1 :25. Moreover, it is not the bread and wine alone 
that are spoken of as sacred, but the supper is called 'the Lord's 
Supper.' The supper itself is an institution of the Lord as well as the 
emblems after it."^ 

The word for love, agape, used over 100 times in the New Testa- 
ment, came to refer to the feast of love which the early Christians 
practiced. "There can be no doubt that the common meals of the 
primitive Christians and the table fellowship which the Corinthian 
Church abused, answer to the later agape. A new name was given 
to what was really a new thing, for there is nothing elsewhere like 
the spirit of love which called into existence and pervaded the com- 
mon intercourse of brotherhood. The occasion for the origin of the 
name may be found in John 13:16 though the technical term prob- 
ably did not come into use till long after the brethren had been en- 
joying the reality."' 

The church of the Brethren has always found in the love-feast 
certain symbolical values and taught that Jesus meant for His dis- 
ciples to see in it a religious significance. They regarded the love- 
feast as a symbol, a memorial, an emblem that stood for something 
greater. A flag is of little value if one considers it to be only cheap 
muslin or even colored silk, but if one sees that it symbolizes a great 
nation, it takes on significance and inspires patriotic zeal. The 
badges or buttons, flashing the names of favorite candidates, that 

1. Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 230. 

2. Yoder, God's Means of Grace, p. 361. 

3. The Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. 


patriotic citizens wear in their coat lapels prior to election mean little 
or nothing in themselves. But back of those almost worthless em- 
blems are the principles and ideals of the political party in which 
they believe. The emblem or symbol stands for something greater. 

(1) The love-feast is a memorial of the love of Christ. We know this, 
because in the introduction to the service in John 13:1 special reference is 
made to this love : "He loved them unto the end." During the supper Jesus 
gave special commandment to perpetuate this type of love : "A new com- 
mandment I give unto you, that ye love one another ; even as I have loved 
you." The love-feast, with this new name expressing this new type of love, 
which the world first saw in Jesus, is a standing memorial of Jesus' love. 
This explains why Paul exhorts the church to "tarry one for the other" in 
order that they may "eat the Lord's supper." 

(2) The love- feast is also, a symbol of the love which should characterize 
the followers of Jesus. It was as He was instituting this feast that He said : 
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to- 
ward another." As the feast commemorated the love of Jesus, so it teaches 
His disciples to manifest that same love one toward another. It was at the 
close of this feast that Jesus prayed to the Father, "That the love wherewith 
thou lovest me may be in them, and I in them." 

This Christian love implies unity, equality and fellowship. It implies 
unity because the church assembled at this feast is "one body in Christ," 
and the body is a unity, made so by the common life which Jesus gives. It 
implies equality because in this body of Christ all members have equal honor. 
At the ordinary feast the disciples had been prone to seek the chief places, 
but this feast was a corrective of that desire for pre-eminence. "One is 
your teacher and all ye are brethren." It implies fellowship because the 
breaking of bread has in all ages and countries been a symbol or pledge of 
brotherly love.^ 

There is something about a common meal that binds people to- 
gether. Jesus conserved the values which come from eating together. 
If two groups of people are in opposition and can sit down and eat 
a meal together it makes for unity, harmony, and fellowship every 

(3) The love- feast is also a type. It is a type of the coming marriage 
supper of the Lamb. Jesus referred to this as He was instituting these or- 
dinances : "I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until I drink 
it new in the Kingdom of God." Just as the table of showbread in the taber- 
nacle, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and was partaken of 
only by the priests, was a type which pointed to this time when we all as 
priests are permitted to sit "in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and have 
"fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ", so the love- 
feast is a type which points to the time when this foretaste of heavenly fel- 

4. Yoder, op. cit., pp. 365, 366. 


lowship shall give way to the fulness of the heavenly life. All the earthly 
gifts and possessions shall pass away. Faith itself shall become sight, hope 
shall become fruition, and love, the eternal, abiding love of God shall be an 
eternal feast. It is this love that shines through the love-feast as a memorial, 
a symbol and a type, and gives it an abiding glory.® 

In certain sections of the brotherhood it is said some Brethren 
families have a light lunch about four o'clock in the afternoon called 
^'piece time" or "tea time" ; it is a light meal to tide one over and 
looking forward to a full meal in the evening. So the Lord's Supper 
or Agape might be symbolically described as a time of fellowship 
and harmony with Christ and one another looking forward to even 
a fuller fruition of these Christian virtues in the spirit realm where 
the soul stands immortal. 

II. Historical Background 

It is likely that the agape was practiced by the early Christians 
before it was formally named such. "In the Jerusalem community 
the common meal appears to have sprung out of the communion that 
characterized the first days of the Christian Church. The religious 
meals familiar to the Jews would make it natural in Jerusalem to 
give expression by means of table fellowship to the sense of brother- 
hood; and the community of goods practiced by the infant church 
would readily take the particular form of a common table at which 
the wants of the poor were supplied out of the abundance of the 

It is thought that these meals were held in the church in the eve- 
ning-time usually after a praise and worship service. When the meal 
was concluded the communion proper was observed in which the 
bread and the wine signified the broken body and shed blood of the 
Lord. Love, unity, and brotherhood were dominant throughout. 

The agape was not only a devotional experience among the early 
Christians in which they were brought to love one another but it was 
also a means of making their influence felt on the outside world. 
"The agape was not only a very powerful means among primitive 
Christians of cultivating mutual affection throughout their body and 
of gaining the good will of those who observed their conduct, but, 

5, Loc. cit. 

6. Jewish Ency., Vol. 1, p. 230. 


in all probability it contributed to the promotion of the Christian 
cause by leading to conversions."'^ 

Tertullian makes this observation: "Nothing low or unseemly is 
committed in them; nor is it till after having prayed to God that they 
sit down to table. Food is taken in moderation, as wanted; and no 
more is used than it becomes discreet persons to drink. Each takes 
such refreshment as is suitable, in connection with the recollection 
that he is to be engaged, in the course of the night, in adoration to 
God; and the conversation is conducted as becometh those who know 
that the Lord heareth them. After water has been brought for the 
hands, everyone is invited to sing, and to glorify God, whether by 
passages from sacred scripture or of his own composition."® 

The character of the agape changed somewhat by the time the 
first books of the New Testament were written; the feasts degen- 
erated into revelries in some instances. These abuses gave rise to 
Paul's corrective measures in I Cor. 11. Jude, verse 12, concerning 
"spots in your feasts of charity" likewise reflects this degeneration 
•from the simple and natural commemoration of the events which 
occurred on the night of the betrayal of the Lord. 

"Originally the character of the agape was strictly devotional; 
the feast culminated in the celebration of the Eucharist. At the same 
time it was a social symbol of the equality and solidarity of the con- 
gregation. Here all gave and received the kiss of love; here com- 
munications from other congregations were read and answered. 
When the congregations grew larger, the social differences between 
members began to make themselves felt and the agape changed char- 
acter. It became an entertainment for the rich. In Alexandria the 
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs were supplanted by perform- 
ances on the lyre, harp and flute. In other places the rich retired 
altogether from the meetings and the agape sank down into a kind 
of poorhouse institution. In places these meetings gave rise to dis- 
orders and propagated reminiscences of pagans. Other circum- 
stances contributed to throw the agape out of use. The third Council 
of Constance (391) decreed that the Eucharist should be taken 
fasting and thereby separated the celebration of the Eucharist from 
the Agape. The Synod of Laodicaea and the third Council of Car- 
thage and finally the Council in Trullo (692) forbade the Agape to 

7. Popular and Critical Ency., Vol. 1, p. 66. 

8. Tertullian, Apology, chap. XXXIX, Christian Lit. Pub. Co. Edition. 


be held in church buildings. At the end of the fourth century it began 
gradually to disappear. An attempt was made by the Council of 
Gaugra (380) to restore it to its old position by anathematizing all 
who despised it, but the effort was in vain."^ 

To sum up the causes which led to the discontinuance of the cele- 
bration of the Agape as a part of the communion service the follow- 
ing might be listed : 

1. The increase of abuses as they were found in I Corinthians 
and Jude. 

2. The growth of the church in large cities where it became im- 
possible for Christians to meet together in house celebrations. 

3. The increasing power of the bishop and clergy, who found in 
house gatherings a menace to the unity of the church together with 
the development of the dogma that the presence of the bishop was 
necessary to make a supper valid. 

4. Charges of child murder and cannibalism. 

5. The enforcement of the Imperial law against associations. 
On account of these reasons the Agape was finally disconnected 

from the Eucharist, but no scriptural reasons are given anywhere 
that because of its misuse it should not be observed. 

The Dunkers from the beginning placed much emphasis on the 
historic traditions of the New Testament. True to form, they re- 
turned to the teachings of Jesus and to the practices of the early 
church for guidance in the observance of the love-feast. While the 
Agape had almost universally disappeared from the church since the 
end of the fourth century, the Brethren came to a literal interpreta- 
tion of the scripture on this point and attempted to reproduce the 
life of the primitive church in their midst as nearly as possible. To 
this course they still feel bound. 

H. R. Holsinger describes a typical Dunker love-feast as it was 
observed about the turn of the past century: 

Let us glance for a moment at one of those remarkable assemblies. With- 
in the long, low auditorium a vast congregation, often numbering a thousand 
souls, throngs every foot of available space. The members are all seated 
around long, immaculately white tables. If it is a typical Tunker com- 
munion, the white caps of the sisters, framing pure and peaceful faces, 
ranged on either side of their separate tables, forms a picture which lingers 
long in the memory, in its unique and singular beauty. A narrow space a- 
long the walls of the church accommodates the audience, the outsiders, and 

9. Schaff-Herzog Ency., Vol. 1, p. 34. 


thickly standing upon the benches which have been packed into this space, 
they gaze upon the scene before them with eager and unflagging interest, not 
seeming to be conscious of the long hours, nor of the fatigue attending their 
crowded and uncomfortable position. At a central table solemn and vener- 
able men are conducting the service. A devout atmosphere pervades the 
house. The reverent voice of the ofificiating bishop arrests even the most 
careless ear, and all who are present feel that the place is holy, and that 
God Himself is not very far away.^^ 

He describes the Agape more particularly : 

Feet-washing having now been concluded, the Lord's Supper was next 
placed on the table. Certain ones had prepared the food during former ex- 
ercises. It consisted of bread, mutton or beef, and soup made of meat broth. 
Thanks being offered, the meal was partaken of. After supper, during the 
singing of a hymn, the tables were cleared of everything except the cloths, 
which were turned. Then the Communion bread and wine were placed up- 
on the table.^^ 

The Annual Meeting minutes from 1822 to 1872 reveal some of 
the intricate details of the love-feast as observed by the Brethren: 
"Whether we might have two tables at love-feast, and also at other 
meetings ; that is, whether members might prepare something warm 
for the old brethren, and also elderly and weakly members, besides 
what is served up for all in general. . . . Was considered, that mem- 
bers should be at perfect liberty to show their love toward their old 
brethren or weakly members, to set before them what they like ; yet 
we would counsel in love to be careful that no bad distinction is made, 

so that friends and well-wishers are preferred to those who are 

"Concerning breaking up in the morning after love-feast, it was 
considered that members and their children who stay till morning, 
should not separate and leave until prayer and thanksgiving to God 
is made."^^ 

"Whether our love-feasts could not be held more privately and 
often? The advice was to select such times and places as experience 
may teach to be most suitable for this purpose. "^^ 

"Some members think there is too much feasting at our love- 
feasts, in providing so much for those who come to feast, and make 
disturbance at our meetings. Considered, that we are to feed the 

10. Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 249. 

11. Ibid., p. 251. 

12. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1822, Art. 11. 

13. Annual Meeting Minutes. 1822, Art. 14. 

14. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1842, Art. 3. 


hungry, if we are led by Christ's example; and the apostle says, 
'Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him 
drink : for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.' Rom. 

"How shall we proceed, in case we have a love-feast, and a sister, 
or sisters, come from another congregation to our love-feast, who 
wear ear-rings or jewels; whether we have a right to take them in 
council, and, if not willing to lay them off, whether we are privileged 
to keep them from the communion table ? The Committee was de- 
cidedly of the opinion that as it is positively forbidden by Holy Writ 
(see I Peter 3:3; 1 Tim. 2 :9) it should not be tolerated, except in 
cases of actual necessity; and that the church, where such members 
propose to participate in the communion, has the right to take them 
into council, and if they are not willing to be admonished, to advise 
them to withdraw till they are willing to sacrifice those forbidden 

"A request that the oldest bishop choose or appoint twelve breth- 
ren to hold a communion or love-feast at the time and place of Year- 
ly Meeting, as a model to show us the right order, according to the 
Gospel. Considered, that Christ with His apostles, in that doleful 
night when He was betrayed, has given a model, and shown us the 
right order."^^ 

"What is the advice of the General Council to individual mem- 
bers, say four, five or more, who cannot commune with the church 
because they have beef instead of a lamb at their love-feast? Con- 
sidered as good advice for such members to submit to the order of 
the church where they live, and to reflect on the admonition of the 
apostle, Col. 2:16, 17, 'Let no man, therefore, judge you, in meat 
or in drink,' etc., 'which are a shadow of things to come; but the 
body is of Christ.' Again, to learn of his example, Phil. 4:11, where 
he says: 'For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am to be con- 
tent.' "i« 

III. Present Practices 

In an attempt to arrive at a norm regarding the present practices 
in conducting the love-feast in the Church of the Brethren, a ques- 

15. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1849, Art. S. 

16. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1853, Art. 8. 

17. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1854, Art. 22. 

18. Annual Meeting Minutes, 1855, Art. 20, 


tionnaire was given to ministers and students in the Ciiurcli from 
various parts of the brotherhood. Every district in the brotherhood 
is represented in the answers to the questionnaire. I have tried to 
record, and in some instances interpret, the answers pertaining only 
to the love-feast and have not been concerned with feetwashing or 
the communion. 

Practically all of the churches have an examination service in prep- 
aration for the love-feast. The service, for the most part, is cen- 
tered around a self-examination sermon. Some churches make use 
of other means of preparation such as a worship and meditation serv- 
ice, an evangehstic service or three or four nights of pre-communion 
services, posting and advertising the scriptures relating to the love- 
feast to prompt members to read them, using several Sunday eve- 
ning services or prayer meetings for preparation, registering the 
individuals intending to be present at the service a few weeks in ad- 
vance, a letter sent out by the pastor, and a study of the ordinances 
of the church. It was noted that the annual deacons' visit as a means 
of getting members ready for the communion has been discontinued 
in all the churches where the questionnaire was sent. However, quite 
a few feel it would be well to resume this practice in our churches if 
the deacons were well selected and trained. Very few who filled out 
questionnaires feel that their church is adequately trained concern- 
ing the meaning and value of the service. Some had question marks. 

In the majority of instances the love-feast is held in the main audi- 
torium or sanctuary of the church rather than in the basement. Most 
of the churches do not decorate and light the room for the service 
for special effect, although some feel that candles, a lighted cross, 
pictures, flowers, and quiet music provide added values. Some think 
it is permissible to use plain paper on the tables instead of table cloths 
for the sake of economy and from the standpoint of less work, while 
others feel this practice to be cheap and careless, not as good as in 
our homes and too noisy. For the most part there is no special seat- 
ing of communicants around the tables. Of course the brethren and 
sisters sit in their own groups and the officiating minister, elders, and 
deacons sit together. Apart from this, friends more or less gravitate 

In answer to the question, "Do you serve meat and the sop and 
bread?" the answer is "yes" in practically every case. Individual 
plates are used and sandwiches are rare. Bread is preferable to buns. 


Beef is most common although mutton and cheese found their way 
on a very few questionnaires. Most of the people who answered the 
question feel the menu is proper for their church and stress the point 
that the fellowship of love is the important thing and not the items 
of food. In this connection I discovered a quotation in regard to the 
Agape of the early church: "In the Didache only a cup of wine and 
bread are explicitly mentioned. In the Acts of Paul and Thecla 'five 
loaves of bread, with vegetables and salt besides, and water' are 
spoken of. Later on, Augustine mentions meat, poultry, cheese, 
milk, and honey. Some suggest that fish was commonly used."^^ 

It was discovered that the articles of food used in the love-feast 
most often have no symbolical meaning to the members. However, 
the meal as a whole in many instances is a symbol of brotherhood, 
love, and fellowship and points forward to the "marriage Supper of 
the Lamb." Silence is preferred instead of the communicants talk- 
ing and fellowshiping during the meal. A few, however, are in favor 
of talking quietly and reverently about the first Supper when Jesus 
was present in person with the disciples in the upper room. I notice 
this statement from Tertullian concerning the Agape of the primi- 
tive church : "The conversation is conducted as becometh those who 
know that the Lord heareth them." The answers were about equally 
divided on the question : "Is there a prayer of thanksgiving before 
and after the meal or just preceding the meal?" 

According to the questionnaire there is no particular day or time 
for the observance of the love-feast in the churches of the brother- 
hood although Sunday evening at 6 :30 is most generally the accepted 
time. The average length for the entire service is one and one-half 
hours. The deacons and their wives prepare the meal and the tables 
for the feast, and these, with other volunteers, are responsible for 
putting the room in order after the service. 

The love-feast is held twice a year in most of the churches and 
those who answered the question think this is satisfactory. Several 
believe it would be wise to have only the bread and cup monthly or 
quarterly and the Agape and feetwashing according to the regular 
schedule. Most of the answers reveal that the general belief is that 
any Christian who follows our practices should be allowed to take 
part in the love-feast and communion. In most cases the individual 

19. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 1, p. 174. 


himself is the one to decide who is eligible to participate. In some in- 
stances the official board or elder makes this decision. 

Few churches keep an accurate record of the attendance at the 
love-feast. In answer to the question, "What per cent of your mem- 
bers attend almost every one of your communion services?" the an- 
swers range from 25% to 90%, with the average probably about 
58%. In answer to the question, "What per cent seldom, if ever, 
attend the service?" the answers range from 10% to 70%, with the 
norm probably about 32%. Of course these statistics include resi- 
dent and nonresident members and the figures to begin with were 
estimates. In rare instances do members take part in the communion 
who do not take part in the entire service. For the most part the 
communion is regarded as more meaningful than the feetwashing or 
fellowship meal, while many answers show that the service is thought 
of as a unit and no differentiation is made between the various parts. 

On "What can be done to increase the attendance?" many con- 
fessed ignorance and a desire for help. The most common answers 
given on this point were more training and teaching, publicity, per- 
sonal work, brotherliness, making the service intelligently meaning- 
ful and helpful, and adjusting the service so that the bread and wine 
only are used. 


Jacob F. Replogle 
editor's note 

Of the discussion of the origins of the Brethren there is no end. Much of such 
discussion is profitable. 

It seems to be apparent that the ideal of Church Life which has been formative 
in Brethren thought can be traced ultimately to the Brenardine-Franciscan-Waldensian 
movement in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. From this Christ-mysticism 
and imitation-of-Jesus emphasis there evolved the idea of a Church founded upon 
the recorded teachings of Jesus and with no other Law. 

The emphasis upon the Book seems to have been a devout and practical emphasis 
(not a learned emphasis) and became anti-Hierarchical when the bishops excommuni- 
cated Waldo. A Church was then visioned, founded upon the Bible and particularly 
that part of the Bible we call the New Testament. 

This idea once launched has exerted incalculable influence during the past seven 
centuries. The group at Schwarzenau was one historical embodiment of that idea. 
Not only by similarity of thought but through the Anabaptist side of our Brotherhood's 
ancestry we are in the Waldensian lineage. 


Bernard of Clairvaux 

In a certain sense, Peter Waldo can share the company of St. 
Francis of Assisi and even Bernard of Clairvaux in the rise of a new 
doctrinal belief. Though the latter two are venerated as saints with- 
in the Hierarchical Church while the former can claim but the dis- 
tinction of a dissenter, there is much in common as to their basic be- 
liefs and practices. Hence to get the true perspective of what the 
Waldensians believe it is well to go back to its founder and perceive 
not only what he believed but the theological influences that played 
upon his theological thinking. For that reason may we not examine 
Bernard of Clairvaux to think out just what influence there was that 
affected Waldo. 

Bernard of Clairvaux was the greatest religious genius of the 
twelfth century and the principal figure in the movement which pro- 
foundly affected the life of the Western Church, and was not with- 
out its influence on the development of Christian thought, especially 
as it relates to Waldo. McGiffert states : "As in theology the formal 
acceptance of the traditional system was followed ultimately by its 
rationalization and subjective appropriation, so in religion objective 
rites and ceremonies and means of grace ceased wholly to satisfy the 
growing spiritual needs of the western world and piety was becoming 
more and more a matter of inner experience rather than of mere 
external observance. In the eleventh century this inner personal re- 
ligion found frequent and sometimes deeply emotional expression 
in the writings of Peter Damiani, Othloh, Anselm and others, and in 
the twelfth century it spread rapidly and became widely dominant. 
Bernard was its most important representative."^ Though he ex- 
pressed himself often in theological subjects Bernard was not a 
theologian. He was essentially a pastor and preacher concerned first 
of all for the personal religious life of the monks under his care but 
also profoundly interested in the welfare and peace and purity of the 
church at large. He was firmly convinced of the truth of the whole 
Christian system and bitterly opposed to heresy and theological 
novelties of every kind, but his attention was centered in life rather 
than doctrine, in religion rather than theology. The word "expe- 
rience" was a favorite with him. Religion for Bernard was not 

1. McGiffert, Arthur Cushman, A History of Christian Thought, Vol. II, p. 222. 


merely a traditional thing; it was intensely personal, his own in a 
very real sense. For him, the way to God was through the affections, 
not the intellect; we come to know God by love rather than by learn- 
ing. In a way this was Waldo's contention except the Word of God, 
the Book, was the source of relationship with God. The traits which 
Bernard chiefly emphasized in Jesus were humility and love. In 
these, he insisted, the imitation of Christ principally consisted. Of 
humility, "the mother of salvation" as he called it, he had a great 
deal to say, coming back to it over and over again in his sermons on 
the Song of Songs. In this especially did he anticipate Waldo who 
believed thoroughly in the humble simple way of life disdaining all 
worldly motives. 

St. Francis of Assist 

The similarities of the beginnings of Peter Waldo with that of 
Francis of Assisi are so close that it almost startles one. Neither 
were theologians. Their supreme ambition was to follow Christ and 
become truly one with Him. Both rejected wealth and position, giv- 
ing their fortune away and taking to the road in imitation of the 
Apostles. Both founded brotherhood group movements which de- 
manded vows of poverty and charity. While Francis' group became 
recognized and remained within the pale of the church, Waldo's 
became a heretical group, the object of persecution. Yet many of the 
writers have been vehement in their distinction between the two. 
Comba states : "If the Waldensian reaction presents an original type, 
it owes it to Waldo. The Mendicant Orders are only an imitation or 
a caricature of it. Between the Waldensian principle and that of the 
monks, there is all the difference that separates obedience from ser- 
vile cringing. If, according to his disciples, Waldo was 'like a lion 
that awakes from his sleep,' the monks were but dogs that allow 
themselves to be muzzled."^ 

Primitive Beliefs of Peter Waldo 

Peter Waldo's entire program is contained, as Comba puts it, in 
the command that re-echoed from the depth of his own conscience : 
"Come, thou, and follow me." It includes all the precepts of evan- 
gelical law, from that of voluntary poverty to that of free preaching. 
These two precepts of opposite extremes meet here ; in reality they 
constitute but one, and that unity is the ideal of the Waldensian re- 

2. Comba, Emilio, History of the Waldenses of Italy, p. 241. 


action. Of the ideals and beliefs of the Waldensians Schaff states : 
"In their earliest period the Waldenses were not heretics. . . . The 
first distinguishing principle of the Waldenses bore on daily conduct 
and was summed up in the words of the Apostles, 'we ought to obey 
God rather than man.' The second distinguishing principle was the 
authority and popular use of the Scriptures. Here again the Wal- 
denses anticipated the Protestant Reformation without realizing, as 
is probable, the full meaning of their demand. The third principle 
was the importance of preaching and right of laymen to exercise that 
function. Peter Waldo and his associates were lay evangelists. The 
Waldenses went still further in showing a shocking disregard for old- 
time custom and claimed the right to preach for women as well as 
for men."^ 

John Paul Perrin in his original History of the Old Waldenses in 
referring to the doctrines of Peter Waldo, stated that to Waldo the 
thought of the idea of transubstantiation and of the worship of bread 
was positively revolting. "Peter Waldo, a citizen of Lyons, ap- 
peared most courageous in opposition to that unholy invention. He 
also attacked several other corruptions which had been adopted by 
the Roman priesthood, for he asserted that: the papists had forsak- 
en the faith of Jesus Christ; the church of Rome is the Babylonish 
harlot, and alike the barren fig tree which the Lord formerly cursed; 
the Pope is not to be obeyed, forasmuch as he is not the head of the 
church; monkery is an abominable thing; vows are the character and 
mark of the great beast; purgatory masses, dedications of temples, 
worship of Saints, and commemoration of the dead, are only the in- 
ventions of devils, and the engines of avarice."* Flick condenses 
Peter Waldo's beliefs to about five in number: "all good men are 
priests; permitted women to preach; assailed indulgences; advo- 
cated nonresistance ; denounced war and homicide among other 
things.'"^ ; '^^ 

Early Beliefs of the Waldenses 

Coming from Waldo himself to the group which bore his name, 
Qualben sums up their doctrines in this manner: "The Waldenses 
had the following program : 1 ) the church must return to the pure 
teaching of Scripture; 2) there Is no purgatory; 3) the church Is 

3. Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Vol. V, Part I, p. 502. 

4. Perrin, John Paul, History of the Ancient Christians Inhabiting the Alps, p. Z2. 

5. Flick, Alexander C, The Rise of the Medieval Church, p. 573. 


not infallible; 4) selling one's goods and giving the proceeds to the 
poor is an act of Christian consecration."® 

McCabe quotes Alexis Muston, Vol. I, pages 18-20, to state: 
"Their doctrines were equally analagous or rather were remarkably 
identical with those of the Apostolic times, and of the earliest fathers 
of the church. They may be briefly summed up in these few words : 
the absolute authority and inspiration of the Bible — the Trinity in 
the Godhead — the sinful state of man — the free salvation of Jesus 
Christ — but, above all, faith working by love."' 

Scriptural Emphasis 

The Scripture, as has been stated, was for them the very fountain 
head of religious knowledge. Superior to reason, tradition, and the 
authority of the church, it takes its stand as the rule of faith. Comba 
states that they distinguished in it three successive laws : the natural 
law, the law of Moses, and the perfect law of Jesus Christ. This 
latter alone is permanent. To meditate upon it and observe it is all 
their wisdom, as it also is their life. From Waldo on, the Scripture 
was accepted from the Vulgate with all of its literal interpretation. 
The word of Christ was clear enough, and for Waldo and his fol- 
lowers it was simply a question of furnishing a literal translation. 
Nowhere did they produce theorists or theologians, but they knew 
their Scripture. It is almost amazing to note that the Waldenses' 
followers were required to commit to memory the Gospels of St. 
Matthew and St. John, the General Epistles, and a part of those of 
St. Paul. 

It must be remembered, the Waldenses were not theorists. Their 
reaction, which was essentially moral, departed at first, but very 
slightly, from traditional dogmas. A new life, according to the per- 
fect law of Christ, commences with repentance ; that constitutes the 
first round of the ladder of perfection. As everyone ought to repent 
before death comes to take him unawares, there Is no time to be lost. 
If God waits for the sinner, if He prolong the time of His patience, 
it Is only during our pilgrimage here below as It is somewhat stated 
in the Noble Lesson. Is this a denial of purgatory? At least it is 
very far from leading to an admission of that doctrine. There are 
two paths, said the Waldenses — one Is the path of life, the other 
that of death. The first leads straight to paradise; the second, to 

6. Qualben, L. P., A History of the Christian Church, p. 182. 

7. McCabe, James D., The Cross and Crown, p. 28. 


hell. There is no middle road. The most ancient Waldensian writ- 
ings ignore purgatory. They likewise believed that man is not saved 
by faith alone. Works are the demonstration of faith, and an earnest 
of our election. God has promised Paradise to us as He promised 
our daily bread, but we must earn it. 

Three Basic Precepts 

Just as the Waldenses' dogmas adhered to Catholic tradition, so, 
too, their moral teachings recall those of the Cathari. Many writ- 
ers make much of the similarity of moral precepts of the two groups 
but it seems that the influence of the Cathari has been exaggerated, 
for the moral teachings of the Waldenses seemed copied, even as 
many of their practices, from the Sermon on the Mount and the pre- 
cepts of Christ. Three of those precepts have been much empha- 
sized and ought to be mentioned. According to the Waldenses, every 
man is bound to tell the truth, as much out of regard for his neighbor 
as from self-respect. Lying kills the soul. A second precept of the 
Waldenses was that every man must abstain from swearing. Accord- 
ing to the Waldenses the oath is in no case allowable. Swearing was 
classified by them as a mortal sin. If any man be compelled to take 
an oath, he must hasten to confess his sin and do penance. A third 
precept is that of capital punishment. "The Waldenses affirm," says 
Bernard Gui, "that all judgment, being forbidden by God, is a sin, 
and the judge, who, under whatever circumstances, and for whatever 
motive, condemns a man to torture or to death, acts contrary to the 
Gospel, in which it is written: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' 
They also appeal to the commandment: 'Thou shalt not kill,' nor 
regard any commentaries thereon. ... It condemns all manner of 
violent death, whether by the sword of the soldier or of justice." 

Such are the characteristic features of the creed and moral teach- 
ing of the Waldenses. More of their belief is to follow. However it 
is quite clear that they do diverge more and more from the world 
and the official church. 

The Sacramental Beliefs 

Turning from a study of their organization, worship and admin- 
istration, we continue our search for beliefs of the early Waldenses. 
The Sacraments afford us an insight into their doctrinal beliefs. "The 
Waldenses," Montet wrote, "enter into competition with the Catho- 
lic priesthood as regards preaching; but they accept the Sacraments 


at their hands. That was true at the very commencement of the 
work; but little by little, when the first condemnation of the Walden- 
ses was sanctioned by the Lateran Council, and persecution was let 
loose by means of the Inquisition, the question of the Sacraments 
changed its aspects." They very soon disregarded the Sacraments of 
Confirmation and Extreme Unction, and finally rejected them, at 
least in some districts of Germany. The other Sacraments, namely, 
Baptism, Ordination, Confession, and the Eucharist, were fully rec- 

The Waldenses were originally so completely under the dominion 
of Catholic tradition that a reaction was not long in taking place. 
Without baptism no salvation they said unanimously; then, while 
still following this same tradition, added that it might be admin- 
istered by any one. 

As to the Sacrament of Ordination, the Waldenses surely did 
have such a thing. Even though every man and woman had the right 
to preach yet as is seen in the organization of the Waldenses, there 
were definite steps in the election and ordination of ministers. Never- 
theless it is well that we here notice what one Inquisitor wrote con- 
cerning Waldensian ordination : "When they wish to admit anyone 
to their number, they first examine him during a certain time, after 
prolonged instruction. At the moment of ordination, they require of 
him a confession of all the sins he can remember from his youth up. 
Moreover to be received into their ranks, one must be chaste." Then 
the writer goes on to say that the candidate was interrogated upon 
the seven articles of faith, that is to say, he was asked whether he 
believed : 

1. In a God, in three persons, one in nature. 

2. In a God, Creator of all things, visible and invisible. 

3. In the divine promulgation of the law of Moses on Mount 

4. In the incarnation of the Son of God in the Virgin's womb. 

5. In the election of the Holy Church. 

6. In the resurrection of the body. 

7. In the judgment to come. 

The other articles of the creed are not mentioned. The candidate 
was further questioned upon the seven Sacraments. As to the vows 
required of him, they are the three we already know : obedience, pov- 
erty, chastity, in addition to the two following pledges: When he 


shall be in prison or in danger of death, he shall not redeem his life 
or that of his brethren, by a false oath or any other mortal sin; and 
he shall not maintain with his kindred greater relations of intimacy 
than those which unite him to his brethren. 

A third Sacrament was that of Penance. Comba states: "This 
Sacrament is in such perfect harmony with the character of the Wal- 
densian reaction, that one might almost say, 'if it had not existed, 
the Waldenses would have invented it.' "^ Their sincere and rigor- 
ous confession was addressed to God, but it was far from excluding 
the office of the confessor, as some have thought. Little by little 
they drew away from the practice of the Church though a few could 
be seen going to the priest but only in cases of necessity or to ward off 
suspicion. They usually said: "It is better to confess to a pious lay- 
man than to an unworthy priest." Moreover, one of the reasons 
which urged penitents to confess to the Waldenses was that they 
were sure to be received well. Some even attributed magical powers 
to the Waldenses hearing confessions. The form of absolution 
varied. One version has it that the bishop would say: "God absolve 
thee from all thy sins. I enjoin upon thee contrition for thy sins until 
death, and the performance of such and such a penance." Another 
is less brief: "May our Lord, who forgave Zacchaeus, Mary Mag- 
dalene and Paul, who delivered Peter from his bonds, and Martha 
and other penitent women, deign to remit thy sin. The Lord bless 
and keep thee, the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be 
gracious unto thee, the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and 
give thee peace. And may the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, keep thy heart and mind in Jesus Christ. Blessed be thou 
by God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen." 

Penance, always rigorous, was sometimes excessive. It consisted 
of prayer and fasting. Concerning prayer, they used the Lord's 
Prayer in repetition, beHeving it to be the only prayer ordained by 
Christ. The Ave Maria was never used. As to fasting, the Walden- 
ses seemed to conform to the following : Mondays and Wednesdays, 
semi-fasts, not excluding the use of meats ; Friday and part of Lent, 
strict fasting, "not for conscience's sake — for Christ does not com- 
mand fasting — but in order not to give offence." 

Finally, the Waldenses attached a great importance to the Sacra- 
ment of the Eucharist. The sacrament underwent at their hands a 

8. Comba, op. cit., p. 266. 


beginning of reform. Tiiey professed to believe in the dogma of 
transubstantiation, which was several centuries old by this time. 
They disagreed in the manner of explaining it but not in the sacra- 
ment itself. To them it mattered little whether the celebrant was 
consecrated or not; he must, above all, be a good man. The sacra- 
mental consecration was accepted even from laymen almost the same 
as baptism. Comba quotes an interesting recital of the early Wal- 
densian Eucharist service : "The Poor of Lyons celebrated their 
mass once a year, namely, on Holy Thursday. At night-fall he who 
presides, if he have received the order of the priesthood, gathers 
around him all the members of his family of both sexes ; he causes a 
bench or a box to be set up before them, which is covered with a clean 
table cloth, upon which are placed a large glass of pure wine and an 
unleavened loaf of bread. Then he who presides says: 'Let us pray 
that God in His mercy may pardon our sins and transgressions, and 
deign to answer our prayers; to this end we will repeat the Lord's 
Prayer seven times, to the glory of God and the Holy Trinity.' 
Whereupon all kneel and say the Lord's Prayer seven times; then 
they rise. Afterwards, he who consecrates makes the sign of the 
cross over the bread and the cup, and, after having broken the bread, 
he gives a piece to each; then he passes the cup to all. They remain 
standing during the whole time of the celebration; and this closes 
their act of sacrifice. They firmly believe and confess that it is the 
body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If aught of the sacrifice 
remains unconsumed, they keep it till Easter and finish eating it on 
that day. If anyone present ask permission to receive it, they give 
it to him. For the space of one year, they give nothing to their sick 
but consecrated bread and wine. Such was originally the custom of 
the Poor of Lyons, or Waldenses, before division came in among 

It is interesting to note what one of the Waldensian preachers, 
Barbe Morel, writes concerning their beliefs at the time just pre- 
ceding the Reformation : "With regard to our articles of beliefs, we 
teach our people, as well as we can, the contents of the twelve ar- 
ticles of the Symbol, called the Apostles' Creed, and every doctrine 
deviating from it is looked upon by us as heresy. We believe in a God 
in three persons; we hold that the humanity of Christ is created and 
inferior to the Father, who wished by means of it to redeem man- 

9. Ibid., p. 269. 


kind; but we admit at the same time that Christ is both very God and 
very man. We hold also that there is no other mediator and inter- 
cessor with God than Jesus Christ. The Virgin Mary is holy, hum- 
ble, and full of grace ; the same with the other saints ; and they wait 
with her in heaven the glorification of their bodies at the resurrection. 
We believe that, after this life, there is only the place of abode of 
the elect, called paradise, and that of the rejected, called hell. As 
for purgatory it was invented by anti-Christ, contrary to truth, there- 
fore we reject it. All that are of human invention — such as Saints' 
days, vigils, holy water, fasts or fixed days, and the like, especially 
the mass — are, as we think, an abomination in the sight of God. We 
believe the Sacraments to be the signs of a sacred thing, or a visible 
figure of an invisible grace, and that it is good and useful for the 
faithful sometimes to partake of them, if possible; but we believe 
that, if the opportunity to do so be lacking, a man may be saved nev- 
ertheless. As I understand it, we have erred in admitting more than 
two sacraments. We also hold that oral confession is useful, if it be 
observed without distinction of time and for the purpose of com- 
forting the sick, the ignorant, and those who seek our advice, ac- 
cording to the Scriptures. According to our rule, charity ought to 
proceed as follows : First, everyone must love God, above all crea- 
tures, even more than his own soul; then his soul more than all else; 
then his neighbor's soul more than his own life; then his own life 
more than his neighbor's, finally, the life of his neighbor more than 
his own property."^" 

Formulated Statements of Faith 

The Waldensian Catechism 
Turning our attention now to formulated statements of belief in 
the period preceding the Reformation, we find a catechism of about 
the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Schaff states : 

"The doctrinal affinity of the Waldensians and the Bohemian Brethren 
appears especially in their catechisms, which are the most important of all 
their writings before the Reformation, and which prove their zeal for Chris- 
tian education on the basis of the Scriptures. The Waldensian Catechism 
has a better claim to originality, and, although not nearly as old as was for- 
merly supposed, must have been written before 1500 (Leger, Monastier, and 
Halm trace it to the beginning of the twelfth century.) 

"The Waldensian Catechism, called 'The Smaller Questions,' intended 
for children, is a remarkable production for an age of prevailing popular 

10. Ihid., p. 291. 


superstition and ignorance. It consists of fifty-seven questions by the teach- 
er, and as many answers by the pupil. It embodies the Apostles' Creed, the 
Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and is divided into three divi- 
sions — Faith (Ques. 6), Hope (Ques. 32), and Love (Ques. 47). This 
division was suggested by St. Paul and Augustine (Enchiridon), and is fol- 
lowed also in the Greek Catechism of Mogila and the Russian Catechism of 
Philout. Under the head of Faith we have a practical exposition of the Apos- 
tles' Creed and the Ten Commandments, showing their subjective bearing 
on a living faith. In the Second Part (Ques. 32), Love is defined to be a 
gift of the Holy Spirit and an intimate union of the human will with the 
divine will. In the Third Part (Ques. 48), Hope is defined to be a certain 
expectation of grace and future glory. The Catechism is directed against 
the idolatry and superstition of the anti-Christian Church, but the opposi- 
tion is indirect and moderate. The characteristic Waldensian features are 
the distinction between a living and a dead faith (Ques. 8) ; the six evan- 
gelical commandments (Ques. 21 ) ; the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Ques. 
23) ; the distinction between the true or essential (invisible) Church, which 
consists of all the elect of God in Christ, known only to him, and the outward 
or institutional (visible) church, i. e., the ministers and the people subject 
to them (Ques. 35) ; and the rigid exposition of the second commandment 
against all forms of idolatry (Ques. 29). Of the sacraments it is said 
(Ques. 46) : 'Two. are absolutely necessary for all; the rest are less neces- 
sary.' This clearly indicates that the Catechism was written before the Ref- 
ormation period, when the Waldenses rejected all but two sacraments. 
"The following is a specimen translated to give an idea of the Catechism : 

The Waldensian Catechisfyi Translated 

1. If you are asked, who art thou ? Answer : 

I am a creature of God, rational and mortal. 

2. For what end has God made you ? 

That I might know and serve him, and be saved by his grace. 

3. On what rests thy salvation? 

On three fundamental virtues, which are necessary to salvation. 

4. Which are thy ? 

Faith, Hope, Love. 

5. How do you prove this? 

The Apostle writes, I Cor. Xiii, 'Now abideth faith, hope, love, 
these three ; but the greatest of these is love.' 

6. Which is the first fundamental virtue? 

Faith ; for the Apostle says, 'It is impossible to please God with- 
out faith ; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that 
he is a rewarder of them that dihgently seek him' (Heb. Xi:6). 

7. What is faith? 

According to the Apostle, Heb. Xi, faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

8. How many kinds of faith are there? 

Two kinds, a Hving faith and a dead faith. 

9. What is a living faith ? 

It is a faith active in love (as the Apostle testifies. Gal. V:6), that 
is, by keeping God's commandments. Living faith is to believe in 
God, that is, to love him and to keep his commandments. 


10. What is dead faith? 

According to St. James, faith which has no works is dead in itself ; 
faith is idle without works. Or dead faith is to believe that God is, 
to believe about God, of God, but not to believe in God. 

11. What is your faith? 

The true catholic and apostolic faith. 

12. Which is that? 

It is the one which at the Council of the Apostles was divided into 
twelve articles. 

13. Which is it? 

I believe in God the Father Almighty," etc. 
(now follows the Apostles' Creed in full.)^^ 

After the spurt of the Reformation and during that dark period 
of renewed persecution, the Waldenses proclaimed their faith in a 
Confession, dated A. D. 1655 though a few would give it other var- 
ious dates. Of it Schaff states that the Confession belongs to the 
Calvinistic family, and is in fact an abridgment of the Gallican Con- 
fession of 1559, and that it is still in force, or at least highly prized 
among the Waldenses in Italy. He also feels that it was composed 
by Jean Leger, who was at that time Moderator of the Churches in 
Piedmont, and later became their historian. It is well that space be 
given here to this Confession as we are here studying the doctrines 
and beliefs of the Waldenses. 

A Confession of the Waldenses A. D. 1655^^ 

"Having understood that our adversaries, not contented to have most 
cruelly persecuted us, and robbed us of all our goods and estates, have yet 
an intention to render us odious to the world, by spreading abroad many 
false reports, and so not only to defame our persons, but likewise to asperse 
with most shameful calumnies that holy and wholesome doctrine which we 
profess, we look upon ourselves as obliged, for the better information of 
those whose minds may perhaps be preoccupied by sinister opinions, to make 
a short declaration of our faith, such as we have heretofore professed and 
held, and do at this day profess and hold as conformable to the word of God ; 
and so every one may see the falsity of those their calumnies, and also how 
unjustly we are hated and persecuted upon the account of our profession. 

"We believe, 

"1. First, that there is one only God, who is a spiritual essence, eternal, 
infinite, all-wise, merciful, just, and, in sum, all-perfect ; and that there are 
three persons in that one only and simple essence, viz : The Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit. 

"2. That the same God has manifested himself unto us by the works of 
Creation and Providence, as also in his word revealed unto us, first by ora- 

11. Schaff, Philip, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I, pp. 572-575. 

12. Ibid.. Vol. Ill, pp. 575 ff. 


cles in several manners, and afterwards by those written books which are 
called the Holy Scriptures. 

"3. That we ought to receive those Holy Scriptures (as we do) for sacred 
and canonical, that is to say, for the constant rule of our faith and life : as 
also to believe that the same is fully contained in the Old and New Testa- 
ment ; and that by the Old Testament we must understand only such books 
as God did intrust the Judaical church with, and which that church always 
approved and acknowledged to be from God : namely, the five books of 
Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 of Samuel, 1 and 2 of the Kings, 
1 and 2 of the Chronicles, the 1 of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, the Psalms, 
the Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the four great, 
and the twelve minor Prophets : the New Testament contains only the four 
Evangelists, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of St. Paul — 1 to the 
Romans, 2 to the Corinthians, 1 to the Galatians, 1 to the Ephesians, 1 to 
the Philippians, 1 to the Colossians, 2 to the Thessalonians, 2 to Timothy, 

1 to Titus, 1 to Philemon, and his Epistle to the Hebrews ; 1 of St. James, 

2 of St. Peter, 3 of St. John, 1 of St. Jude ; and lastly, the Revelation. 

"4. We acknowledge the divinity of these books, not only from the testi- 
mony of the church, but more especially because of the eternal and undoubted 
truth of the doctrine therein contained, and of that most divine excellency, 
sublimity, and majesty, which appears therein ; besides the testimony of the 
Holy Spirit, who gives us to receive with reverence the testimony of the 
church in that point, and opens the eyes of our understanding to discover 
the beams of that celestial light, which shines in the Scripture, and prepares 
our taste to discern the divine favor of that spiritual food. 

"5. That God made all things of nothing by his own free will, and by 
the infinite power of his word. 

"6. That he governs and rules all by his providence, ordaining and ap- 
pointing whatsoever happens in this world, without being author or cause 
of any evil committed by the creatures, so that the defect thereof neither 
can nor ought to be any ways imputed unto him. 

"7. That the angels were all in the beginning created pure and holy, but 
that some of them are fallen into irreparable corruption and perdition ; and 
that the rest have persevered in their first purity by an effect of divine good- 
ness, which has upheld and confirmed them. 

"8. That man was created clean and holy, after the image of God, and 
that through his own fault he deprived himself of that happy condition, by 
giving credit to the deceitful words of the devil. 

"9. That man by his transgression lost that righteousness and holiness 
which he received, and is thereby obnoxious to the wrath of God, death, and 
captivity, under the jurisdiction of him who has the power of death, that is 
the devil ; insomuch that our free will has become a servant and a slave to 
sin ; and thus all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are by nature the children of 
wrath, being all dead in their trespasses and sins, and consequently incapable 
of the least good motion, or inclination to any thing which concerns their 
salvation : yea, incapable to think one good thought without God's special 
grace, all their imaginations being wholly evil, and that continually. 

"10. That all the posterity of Adam is guilty of his disobedience, and in- 
fected by his corruption, and fallen into the same calamity with him, even 
the very infants from their mothers' womb, whence is derived the word of 
original sin. 


"11. That God saves from that corruption and condemnation those whom 
he has chosen from the foundation of the world, not for any disposition, 
faith, or holiness that he foresaw in them, but of his mere mercy in Jesus 
Christ his Son ; passing by all the rest, according to the irreprehensible rea- 
son of his free will and justice. 

"12. That Jesus Christ having been ordained by the eternal decree of 
God to be the only Saviour, and head of that body which is the church, he 
redeemed it with his own blood in the fulness of time, and communicates 
unto the same all his benefits, together with the gospel. 

"13. That there are two natures in Jesus Christ, viz., divine and human, 
truly united in one and the same person, without either confusion, separa- 
tion, division, or alteration ; each nature keeping its own distinct proprieties ; 
and that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man. 

"14. That God so loved the world, that is to say, those whom he has 
chosen out of the world, that he gave his own Son to save us by his most 
perfect obedience (especially that obedience which he expressed in his suf- 
fering the cursed death of the cross), and also by his victory over the devil, 
sin, and death. 

"15. That Jesus Christ having fully expiated our sins by his most perfect 
sacrifice once offered on the cross, it neither can nor ought to be reiterated 
upon any account whatsoever, as they pretend to do in the mass. 

"16. That the Lord having fully and absolutely reconciled us unto God, 
through the blood of his cross, by virtue of his merit only, and not of our 
works, we are thereby absolved and justified in his sight, neither is there 
any other purgatory besides his blood, which cleanses us from all sin. 

"17. That we are united with Christ, and made partakers of all his bene- 
fits by faith, trusting and confiding wholly to those promises of life which 
are given us in the gospel. 

"18. That that faith is the gracious and efficacious work of the Holy 
Spirit, which enlightens our souls, and persuades them to lean and rest upon 
the mercy of God, and so thereby to apply unto themselves the merits of 
Jesus Christ. 

"19. That Jesus Christ is our true and only mediator, not only redeeming 
us, but also interceding for us, and that by virtue of his merits and interces- 
sion we have access unto the Father, for to make our supplications unto him, 
with a holy confidence and assurance that he will grant us our requests, it 
being needless to have recourse to any other intercessor besides himself. 

"20, That as God has promised us that we shall be regenerated in Christ, 
so those that are united unto him by a true faith ought to apply, and do really 
apply themselves unto good works. 

"21. That good works are so necessary to the faithful, that they cannot 
attain the kingdom of heaven without the same, seeing that God hath pre- 
pared them that we should walk therein ; and therefore we ought to avoid 
vice, and to apply ourselves to Christian virtues, making use of fasting, and 
all other means which may conduce to so holy a thing. 

"22. That although our good works cannot merit anything, yet the Lord 
will reward or recompense them with eternal life, through the merciful con- 
tinuation of his grace, and by virtue of the unchangeable constancy of his 
promises made unto us. 

"23. That those who are already in the possession of eternal life by their 
faith and good works ought to be considered as saints, and as glorified per- 


sons, and to be praised for their virtue, and imitated in all good actions of 
their life, but neither worshipped nor prayed unto, for God only is to be 
prayed unto, and that through Jesus Christ. 

"24. That God has chosen unto himself one church in the world for the 
salvation of mankind, and that same church to have one only head and foun- 
dation, which is Christ. 

"25. That that church is the company of the faithful, who having been 
elected before the foundation of the world, and called with an holy calling, 
come to unite themselves to follow the word of God, believing whatsoever 
he teaches them, and living in his fear. 

"26, That that church cannot err, nor be annihilated, but must endure for 
ever, and that all the elect are upheld and preserved by the power of God in 
such sort, that they all persevere in the faith unto the end, and remain united 
in the holy church, as so many living members thereof. 

"27. That all men ought to join with that church, and to continue in the 
communion thereof. 

"28. That God does not only instruct and teach us by his word, but has 
also ordained certain sacraments to be joined with it, as a means to unite us 
unto Christ, and to make us partakers of his benefits ; and that there are 
only two of them belonging in common to all the members of the church 
under the New Testament — to wit, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. 

"29. That God has ordained the sacrament of Baptism to be a testimony 
of our adoption, and of our being cleansed from our sins, by the blood of 
Jesus Christ, and renewed in holiness of life. 

"30. That the Holy Supper was instituted for the nourishment of our 
souls, to the end that eating effectually the flesh of Christ, and drinking 
effectually his blood, by the incomprehensible virtue and power of the Holy 
Spirit, and through a true and living faith, and so uniting ourselves most 
closely and inseparably to Christ, we come to enjoy in him and by him spirit- 
ual and eternal life. Now to the end that every one may clearly see what our 
belief is as to this point, we have here inserted the very expressions of that 
prayer which we make use of before the Communion, as they are written 
in our Liturgy or form of celebrating the Holy Supper, and likewise in our 
public Catechism, which are to be seen at the end of our Psalms ; these are 
the words of the prayer, — 

"Seeing our Lord has not only once offered his body and blood for the 
remission of our sins, but is willing also to communicate the same unto us 
as the food of eternal life, we humbly beseech him so to give us of his grace, 
that in true sincerity of heart and with an ardent zeal we may receive of 
him so great a benefit ; that is, that we may be made partakers of his body 
and blood, or rather of his whole self, by a sure and certain faith. 

"The words of the Liturgy are these — Let us then believe first the prom- 
ises which Christ (who is the infallible truth), has pronounced with his own 
mouth, viz., that he will make us truly partakers of his body and blood, that 
so we may possess him entirely, and in such sort that he may live in us, and 
we in him. The words of our Catechism are the same, Nella Dominica 53. 

"31. That it is necessary the church should have ministers known by 
those who are employed for that purpose, to be learned, and of a good life, 
as well to preach the word of God as to administer the sacraments, and wait 
upon the flock of Christ (according to the rules of a good and holy disci- 


pline), together with the elders and deacons, after the manner of the primi- 
tive church. 

"32. That God hath established kings and magistrates to govern the peo- 
ple, and that the people ought to be obedient and subject unto them, by 
virtue of that ordination, not only for fear, but also for conscience-sake, in 
all things that are conformable to the word of God, who is the King of 
Kings, and the Lord of lords. 

"33. Finally, that we ought to receive the symbol of the apostles, the 
Lord's Prayer, and the Decalogue, as fundamentals of our faith and of our 

"And for a more ample declaration of our faith, we do here reiterate the 
same protestation which we caused to be printed in 1603, that is to say, that 
we do agree in sound doctrine with all the reformed churches of France, 
Great Britain, the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia, Poland, 
Hungary, and others, as it is represented by them in their confessions ; as 
also we receive the Confession of Augsburg, and as it was published by the 
authors, promising to persevere constantly therein with the help of God, 
both in life and death, and being ready to subscribe to that eternal truth of 
God, with our own blood, even as our ancestors have done from the days of 
the apostles, and especially in these latter ages. 

"Therefore we humbly entreat all the evangelical and protestant churches 
to look upon us as true members of the mystical body of Christ, suffering 
for his name sake, notwithstanding our poverty and lowness ; and to con- 
tinue unto us the help of their prayers to God, and all other effects of their 
charity, as we have heretofore abundantly found and felt, for the which we 
return them our most humble thanks, entreating the Lord with all our heart 
to be their rewarder, and to pour upon them the most precious blessings of 
grace and glory, both in this life and that which is to come. Amen." 

Before closing this historical study of the beliefs of the Waldenses 
with its modern interpretation and modern note, it is well that we 
again clearly summarize the essence of their belief as it relates es- 
pecially to the Reformation and the Pre-Reformation period. No 
better statement could be tersely made than that in a letter of the 
Waldenses of Cabrieres to John of Roma, an Inquisitor, on Febru- 
ary 3, 1533. "We believe all the commandments of God, as Jesus 
Christ taught them to His holy Apostles, and as the Holy Church 
holds and believes them, and God forbid that we should wish or 
undertake to increase or diminish, correct or reprove the law and 
doctrine of God, who is all-good, all-wise, and all-perfect ; who never 
uttered an imperfect word or thing, in which there is anything to be 
repented of or to be amended; by which law, as sacred and perfect, 
we wish to live and die. And we take God to our witness that we hold 
no opinion of any particular sect, and that we believe and have be- 
lieved neither in Waldo, nor Luther, nor anyone else, except inas- 
much as he proclaimed the Word of God and not his own, provided 


we have been able to know. That is what we hold and believe, pro- 
testing before God and all the world, that if we have been made to 
say otherwise, by any means whatsoever, be it by cunning, threats, 
prisons, tortures, or torments, it was contrary to the truth and our 
faith and beHef.''^^ 

Modern Waldensian Beliefs 

With but a brief word of the statement of the beliefs of the Wal- 
denses and I will close this section. Ever since Oliver Cromwell came 
to the aid of the persecuted Waldenses, they have been under the 
wing of the Protestant churches, especially the Presbyterian church. 
Their beliefs have naturally taken on the color of that denomination. 
Yet even today the distinctive doctrines of the Waldenses appear 
dimly above the mixture of others. Carlo Lupo, of Turin recently 
said: "As to the character of our work, we hold that a polemic 
against the Roman Church is sinful. These days are too serious; no 
human organization has the right to boast, over against another, 
the monopoly of the truth when this truth is not lived out in the 
daily practice of life. . . . Many are the difficulties arising from 
bigotry of every shade, but realizing that we are called to be as 
leaven in the meal, we seek to perform that sacred function." Or, 
to take another quotation from a sermon at the Waldensian Synod 
of 1932: "Four hundred years ago we joined the great Protestant 
family to which it is our glory to belong; and yet we know well that 
our work in Italy is not to make Protestants, but to lead souls to 

What do the Waldenses believe today? I close with a brief state- 
ment of what the Waldensian Church believes and teaches as of 
1940, and published in a little pamphlet by the American Walden- 
sian Aid Society. 

"The Waldensian Church believes in 1 ) The Bible available to 
every man in his own language; 2) A vital personal Christian expe- 
rience producing radiance of life; 3) Rehgious liberty; 4) Chris- 
tian tolerance for all faith and races; 5) Representative govern- 
ment in the church; 6) High and free educational standards; 7) In- 
ternational Christian fellowship." 

That is what the Waldensian Church believes yesterday and to- 
day. May it continue to march on "keeping their light shining in 

13, Comba, op. cit., p. 300. 


Claxton Helms 
editor's note 

In the issue of Vol. I, No. 2 began a study of the Yearbook publications of the 
Brethren. The writer of that study, Chester I. Harley, calls attention to one specific 
omission which he was not able to supply. We are indebted to the present contributor 
for supplying that omission. This article therefore is supplemental to Mr. Harley's 
longer study. 

The Brethren's Almanac, for the United States for the Year of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 1874, Being After the Fourth of July, 
the Ninety-ninth of American Independence; Containing, besides the 
Astronomical Department, a List of the Names and Addresses of 
Ministers, Biographies, Announcements, Essays and Other Useftd 
and Instructive Reading Matter is the full title, all-inclusive — an 
index to its contents. This issue of 1874, reputedly rare, saw a 
change in publishers. The issues of 1871, 1872 and 1873 were pub- 
lished by H. R. Holsinger. "However, by 1874 James Quinter had 
taken over the printing interests of Holsinger. He continued to 
publish the Almanac from Dale City [Pa.] much as his predecessor 
had done."^ The issue, similar to the preceding three issues, has a 
"cut" or picture of the old "Companion" office (Christian Family 
Companion, published by James Quinter) on the center of the front 
cover. Dr. Fahrney advertises his Blood Cleanser, or Panacea, on 
the inside front cover, with testimonials, warrantee, references and 
sure-cure claims. 

The first thirteen pages contain almanac material — eclipses of the 
year 1874, signs of the zodiac, moveable [sic] festivals, and the sea- 
sons on page one, followed by information on each month on pages 
two to twelve. 

On the lower seven or eight lines of each page of almanac infor- 
mation are quotations, such as: "God sees everything — this is con- 
soling to the upright"; "A good example is the best sermon"; and 
"Many have been victorious in great temptations, and ruined by lit- 
tle ones." 

1. Harley, Chester I. A study of the yearbook of the Church of the Brethren. 
Schwarzenau, October, 1939. p. IS. 



Immediately after the almanac section (on pages 14 to 23) is an 
article, "Farewell Words", written by Mr. H. R. Holsinger. You 
will remember that beginning with this issue (1874) the Almanac, 
heretofore published by Mr. Holsinger, was published by James 
Quinter. The article is more or less autobiographical in nature, re- 
counting the author's experiences in the printing business up to the 
time of the accession of the business by James Quinter. Then fol- 
lows a series of biographical sketches : Michael Pfautz, Jacob Son- 
tag, Peter Keyser, Jr. — contributed to the Almanac by Abr'm H. 
Cassel, Harleysville, Pa., Sept. 24, 1873; and contributions by 
Franklin Holsinger, Kansas City, Mo., (relating an episode in- 
volving Brother A. Harper, Ray Co., Mo., during the War between 
the States) ; E. Heyser, Madison, Ga., (claiming to have baptized 
into the Brotherhood the first person in the State of Georgia, a Mar- 
tha Timmons) ; J. S. Flory; Joseph I. Cover; and Lewis M. Kob, 
Franklin, Iowa. A selected list of "Blue Laws of Connecticut in 
Ancient Days" leaves one incredulous after perusal, while "Subjects 
for Prayer" by D. B. Mentzer, Waynesborough, Pa., are as timely 
today as they were at their date of publication. 

Announcements of the Annual Meeting for 1874 and of six dis- 
trict meetings precede the Ministerial Directory, which as early as 
this issue had become an integral part of the Almanac. The list fills 
ten pages, having approximately 1300 names and addresses of min- 

The inside back cover carries advertisements of books for sale by 
the publisher; Dr. Renner's Sugar-Coated Ague Pills ("They will 
cure nine cases out of ten") ; and the statement that Cancers Are 
Cured by Dr. John Forney, Sen., of Falls City, Richardson County, 

The entire outside back cover displays an ad for the "Christian 
Family Companion. . . Published every Tuesday, at $1.50 a Year, 
by James Quinter." 

To sum up — The Almanac of 1874 has 32 pages, disposal of 
which is made as follows: pages 1-13 for the almanac, with quota- 
tions interspersed; pages 14-23 for contributions — articles and bio- 
graphical sketches; one column of announcements; and pages 23-32 
for the Ministerial directory. 


Andrew H. Holderreed 


A generation ago there would have been little occasion for a dis- 
cussion of this nature. Indeed, the instigator would doubtless have 
been considered the forerunner of our modern "Reds", and "Parlour 
Communists." However, we of the Post-war period (and now ob- 
servers and participants of World War the Second) have been 
forced to look with askance at the national states and that toward 
which they inevitably lead us. It is, therefore, quite to the point to 
seek to discover the history of our modern scourge as we attempt 
to evaluate modern society and mould its future course. And though 
we modern people flatter ourselves as being the acme of the progress 
of civilization, it is humiliating, to say the least, to discover that we 
are still very much in the "Dark Ages" with regards to government 
of states and the world. That we have the technical conveniences 
and devices means but little; the goal of all science, by present politi- 
cal theory, is to devise more efficient means of killing and blasting 
men — and almost we could say nations — off the face of the earth. 

As to the course of procedure in this discussion, we shall use the 
very familiar cross-sectional method of inspection. It is necessary to 
understand that all the aspects are related to each other, and, not 
only that, but they are related to the events which preceded and fol- 
lowed after them. Only in their historic setting do these cross-sec- 
tions have any obvious meaning. For the sake of time perspective, 
a chronological chart showing the parade of events in all the areas 
would be useful, but would involve unnecessary repetition. 

Nationalism is not a child of modern times, nor was it a unique 
development of the Medieval Ages. In the Mediterranean World, 
however, the spirit of nationalism had been dominated for centuries 
by the internationalism of the vast Roman Empire. That great or- 
ganization gave men a world-vision, even if It happened to be largely 
a Mediterranean-European world. In the chaos of its catastrophic 
collapse men were lost creatures ; they knew not which way to turn. 



Out of this disorder there gradually arose a system, which yet was 
not a system by reason of its variety of expression. In later times 
these all developed to form the feudal society of Europe. As the 
feudal order broke down from its own weight, there developed the 
nationalistic states. 


Trade, Travel, and Commerce in Connection 
WITH Nationalism 

In pursuing our line of interest we might begin with the most fun- 
damental aspect of the situation. It will be recalled that at the down- 
fall of the Roman Empire the life of the peoples of southern Europe 
came to a standstill. In the midst of insecurity, the treasures of dur- 
able nature and the gold money were taken out of circulation and 
buried. Trade diminished rapidly until in the tenth century it had 
virtually ceased to be. The international trade which had flourished 
on the seas and in continental Europe ceased to operate after the 
eighth century, with slight exceptions among the Jewish people. In 
connection with this, the professional merchant class which had been 
elevated by commerce had disappeared. That this lack of trade 
existed is further evidenced by the fact that the Church imposed 
prohibitions upon the lending of money at interest. In general, it 
may be said that until the passing of the tenth century the parts which 
had formerly been the most flourishing and progressive were the 
most deserted; the life and wealth now centered solely around the 
land. We realize that this was only a natural outcome of the terrific 
insecurity in which they lived, and, whereas before they had gravi- 
tated toward the cities for wealth and luxury, now they hastily left 
the cities and betook themselves to the land. (Interesting here to 
think of the recent evacuations of the capital cities of Europe.). 

What hope was there for a rejuvenation of the European world? 
In these "latter days", as they thought, the Empire had ceased to 
operate effectively, and as yet the papal organization had not shown 
itself to be the unifier of the world. As usually happens in dire dis- 
tress, poverty, famine, and danger, men do that which in their nor- 
mal (?) lives they refuse to consider. Thus it was that men gath- 
ered together in small groups for mutual support and protection. 
And herein we find the early threads of our discussion, for from 
these groups grew (1) the trade guilds of the cities and (2) the 


feudal societies of the country. Our chief interest in this section is 
with the trade guilds and the consequent effects upon the life and 
habits of the people. 

As the people drew away from the starvation level of this gigantic 
depression, activity and population increased. The earliest demon- 
stration of this occurred in Italy. Probably the cities had never en- 
tirely lost the vision of the government and order existing before 
the arrival of the barbarians, and therefore feudalism gained less 
hold on them than on the other cities of Europe. They demonstrated 
their right of self-protection in the tenth century as they erected 
walls around their cities to keep out the Huns. Both Berengar and 
Otho I respected this right. Quite naturally the Bishops in the var- 
ious cities of Italy (around 1000), in the absence of any authorita- 
tive governmental agency, had assumed the prerogative of the ad- 
ministration of justice, command of a police army, and the assess- 
ment and collection of taxes. Such beneficent control fostered the 
growth of the trade guilds and the revival of small commercial enter- 
prises in the cities. By the latter part of the eleventh century several 
of the larger cities had become rich enough and sufficiently organized 
to throw off their bishop rulers. The constitutions of the city govern- 
ments by 1095 were commonly centered around consuls, ranging in 
number from two to twenty, and among whom were divided the ad- 
ministrative and judicial powers, and the command of the army. The 
consuls had an advisory body of elected citizens, and there was also 
a rudimentary parliament composed of all the citizenry. 

In France during the eleventh century the free cities enjoyed an 
extensive growth, especially in Provence and Languedoc. These free 
communes were the logical developments of the trade and craft 
guilds and the revived industry and commerce. Here we must note 
the rise of the middle class as a weighty social unit, for while these 
French communes had charters, and thereby fitted Into the feudal 
scheme, yet as the lords increased their taxations on the rich mer- 
chants, the latter revolted and assumed a position outside of the 
feudal order. Although not necessary to this phase of the discussion, 
we might note that these rebellious efforts were opposed by both the 
lords and the clergy. 

The growth of the free cities was less characteristic in Germany, 
although we may be sure of the increasing influence of the merchant- 
men. Two factors retarded the developments there : the small self- 


contained units of society; and the engagement of the German Crown 
in the vain struggle for World Empire, after that faded pattern of 

The next step in progress from the free city was that of the 
League of cities. Here again we turn to Italy for our earliest ex- 
amples. Such was the strength of the citizen armies that they routed 
Frederick Barbarossa at Legnano, forced the Peace of Constance 
in 1183, and forced the abdication of all but the name of lordship 
over them. Thus the free cities assumed the position of a third pow- 
er between the Church and the Empire : they recognized both, but 
held the right to stand apart from either. The German formation 
of city leagues did not occur until the latter part of the next century, 
when Mainz and some sixty-odd cities of upper Germany formed 
a protective league. The Hanseatic League marked the greatest 
development, following 1358. 

Meanwhile, there had begun a vast movement in Europe which 
gave unprecedented impetus to the spread of trade and industry. 
The first Crusade set out in 1096 for the Holy Land. Although 
parts of it were meanly equipped, yet the million men required a huge 
supply of armor, equipment, and supplies. Industry came to life. 
And since these Crusades continued for two centuries, in addition 
to the continental wars, there was a constant demand for supplies. 
The great cities of Venice and Genoa had such a thriving industry 
that by 1202 Venice could supply a fleet to transport the Fourth 
Crusade to the East. It is recorded that more than two hundred 
boats left Venice in the convoy. The initial effect of the Crusades 
was to hasten the rise of the middle class through the expansion of 
the armament and outfitting industries, the building of ships, and 
sea commerce. 

Since the ships were already constructed and in distant ports, 
there was little use to sending them home empty. So these Italian 
merchantmen sailed back with commodities of the East. Indeed, 
these "discoveries" were destined to revolutionize the life of 
Europe; never had they known of silks, cotton, spices, dyes, medi- 
cines, glass, gunpowder, nor had they known of the windmill, of 
irrigation, of the donkey and mule, of wheat and rice, of the fruits 
of the plum, apricot, mulberry and pomegranate trees. Immediately 
there sprang up the desire for the new commodities and luxuries of 
life. Medieval Europe's diet had long been monotonously unvaried. 


With the lessening of poverty and danger there was a longing for 
better and more variety. The merchants of the free cities were in a 
position to capitalize on this desire. 

Not only did the southern cities become beehives of industry but 
also the free cities and leagues of Germany, Scandinavia, England, 
and Flanders came into the trade boom. In addition to the sea routes 
and trade, overland lanes of transport were opened up. Thus it was 
that Medieval man became aware of a world outside of his own, and 
by that discovery and consequent attempt at satisfaction the mer- 
chant class came into being. The effect was to hasten the breakdown 
of feudalism and the theocracy, to usher in a revival of learning as 
an expression of individualism, and to lay the foundation for that 
unit of society which we call the national state. 


The Influence of Education upon the Birth of 

Going back again to the terrible tenth century, and even farther, 
we remember that education and culture were at an exceedingly low 
ebb. In a world tumbling about their heads, the people had scanty 
time to acquire knowledge or to appreciate the finer qualities of life 
and art. Although vaguely impressed by the art and literature the 
barbarians were unable to comprehend their value. Only among the 
clergy and monastics was a ray of the learned past preserved. As 
the only group which had the time and security in which to pursue 
the less material features of Hfe, the monks came to be the guardians 
of the Light. Needless to say this was not their intention; they 
withdrew from the evils of the world in order to devote themselves 
more completely to God. No doubt they served God faithfully, but 
perhaps not in the precise fashion which they thought. In order to 
be busy and useful some copied old manuscripts, others tilled the 
land and pruned the vine, to the edification and enlightenment of 
the ignorant peasants, and, of course, all engaged in their ritual 
services. Naturally an uncouth and ignorant novice made a poor 
servant of God. It was imperative that some training should be 
given him and so a need for schools was felt, not for personal value, 
but for the glorification of God. 

The schoolmen of the Middle Ages exemplified the highest de- 
velopment of this intellectual effort. It was their intention that 


through them might shine the greater glory of Mother Church and 
God. Therefore they effaced themselves as they sought to justify 
and systematize the existing traditions and doctrines. Again, as 
they did not intend, their effort gave to scholars of later times a 
form of mental discipline, intellectual curiosity, and a degree of in- 
tellectual freedom. In their attempt to bring reason to the support 
of faith the scholars opened the way for a new interest in man, and, 
in separating faith and knowledge, they also made way for the study 
of empirical, secular sciences. 

Properly speaking, the schoolmen extended from Anselm of 
Canterbury in the eleventh century down to the Reformation. Most 
widely known are : Peter Abelard, Bernard of Clairvaux, Albertus 
Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon, and William 
Occam. These master minds of the Middle Ages were intimately 
connected with the schools of the day, which evolved from the cathe- 
dral schools or the teacher-guilds into the universities. Bologna 
(1088) and Paris (1207) became the models for most of the west- 
ern universities. 

Here we pause to mention the languages. The scholars and clergy 
carried out their work and worship in the Latin tongue. The native 
dialects were considered to be vulgar and unfit for any good use. 
Oddly enough, under the papal-fostered Crusades chivalry arose, 
and chivalry, under idealistic stimulations, gave rise to romantic 
songs and ballads. Of course these were immensely more colorful 
and gratifying in the vernacular than in the formal Latin. France 
was the leader in this movement, with her wandering troubadours 
such as Christian Troyer (1195) who sang of Lancelot, Erec, and 
the Grail. The German minstrel-poets following after Wolfram 
von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Strassburg (1220) achieved no 
little fame as they chanted of Parcifal, Tristan, Isolde, and many 
nordic mythological characters. England and Italy followed much 
the same pattern. These wandering poets did much to create joy in 
the actions of men, and to unify the languages of the provinces into 
a national language. 

As always happens, when the middle class member gains sufficient 
wealth to feel secure, he turns to leisure, to art, and culture. It was 
this which occurred in Italy in the thirteenth century. The ancient 
Latin and Greek classics were ferreted out and read with pleasure. 
These people were not particularly interested in religion, but of 


course they were in the church and made no move toward separation 
from the group. Nevertheless this was a definite break with the 
medieval mind. 

Well toward the front of the humanistic movement is the char- 
acter of Dante, in spite of his medieval-mindedness. Francesco Pe- 
trarch (1304-1374) followed shortly after, and he truly was a dual 
character, having aspects of medieval hfe and thoughts and also of 
humanism. He was a restorer of Latin culture, a poet, collector of 
Latin classics, archeologist, nature lover, a critic of medieval learn- 
ing, and medicinal practices. It is said that Petrarch was the first 
modern man to climb a mountain for pleasure. The follower of 
Petrarch was a man of the world, Giovanni Boccaccio, a Florentine 
who became a modern realist, content and satisfied to enjoy the world 
as it was. Boccaccio represents the master of the Italian prose. With 
these three men the Italian Renaissance was launched. Humanists 
sprang up everywhere ; paradoxical as it may seem a humanist was 
elected pope in 1447 (Nicholas V). Two more hostile positions 
could not be found, for the new spirit magnified the individual, pro- 
voked inquiry and investigation, and it shook the foundation of 
Christian ideas of religion and morality. 

The next step in the series we find exemplified in John WycHf 
(1324-1384) of England. His private life was much like that of 
other eminent men of the age ; from a landholder family, he became 
a scholar, master of a school, a priest and chaplain to the King, and 
was later detailed in his master's service to France. When he re- 
turned from his mission, and contact with the papacy in its captivity, 
he was a nonconformist and a reformer. In his later years he was 
forced out of Oxford by reason of his anti-papal sentiment and he- 
retical views. His chief tenets were : the Scripture as the source of 
truth; the fallibility of the Pope; the necessity of reform of the cor- 
ruption of the visible church; the falsity of the theory of transub- 
stantiation. A central concept was that of predestination, which was 
an individualistic slap in the face of the theocratic universalism. 
Wyclif gave his people the first complete version of the Bible in 
English. His teachings attracted many of the noble and educated 
by reason of his patriotic views. We can note how nationalistic this 
reformer was when we recall that he was protected from the papacy, 
and a heretic's death, by the English Parliament. The close relation 


of anti-papal reform and nationalism may be noted in subsequent 

The Wyclif pattern of reform was carried out in Bohemia by John 
Huss (1369-1415), only with more fatal personal consequences. A 
scholar, professor at Prague, and a powerful preacher in the com- 
mon tongue, he became the head of the nationalistic party. In short 
order he was excommunicated, imprisoned, condemned at Constance 
and burned as an abominable heretic. 

In concluding this section, we have followed the ever-widening 
paths over which the medieval minds traveled as they changed from 
a blind acceptance of the theocratic ideals, in the days of insecurity, 
poverty and ignorance, to the inquisitive, challenging, and individ- 
ualistic-nationalistic thinking of the reformers in days of rising 
world prosperity. 


Political Aspects of the Growth of Nationalism 

Our purpose in this section is to note the general manner in which 
the nations were organized out of the feudal order and away from 
the control of the papacy. 

The discussion of free cities in Italy led us to the formation of the 
Lombard and Pisan leagues which so soundly rebuffed Frederick 
Barbarossa, a victory largely due to the fact that feudalism pos- 
sessed no power to compel Henry the Lion to aid his overlord. After 
Legnano the leagues fell into internal conflict, which was often used 
to advantage by the nobles as against the citizenry. Finally instead of 
the leagues there arose partisan groups, the Guelfs, consisting of 
commoners and supported by the papacy, and the Ghibellines, the 
advocates of aristocracy and the Empire. Frederick II found Italy 
in this condition in 1215 when he came to the throne. For fifteen 
years he could make no progress because the papacy, through the 
Guelfs, checked him at every hand. The truce of San Germano in 
1230 gave him the opportunity to set up his state, Sicily, the first of 
the "modern" national states. He restricted clerical courts, defended 
laws of mortmain, tried to legitimate the children of the clergy, de- 
prived barons of as much power as possible, forbade private war 
and the carrying of arms. He undertook to regulate the royal cities 
directly, and the free cities by placing in them his officials to check 
usurpation of authority. For the first time there appeared an official 


class under the pay of an emperor and owing loyalty to him alone. 
The salaries were paid in coin, and the clergy was not eligible for 
any position. A rather complete bureaucratic system was set up with 
a Supreme Court, Royal Chamberlain, and a Supreme Chamber of 
Accounts to which the lesser officials were responsible. In addition 
to this, general Parliaments were held twice a year in five cities of 
the realm at which elected representatives had the right to criticize 
and suggest. This was the first "attempt to govern a state by the aid 
of a representation of its constituent parts." 

We should note that all these new institutions depended upon the 
authority of the king — as backed by an efficient mercenary army, 
the like of which medieval Europe had not seen. By means of the 
money payment he permanently attached to his own person a de- 
pendable army, the greatest part of which was made up of Saracens. 
Not only did Frederick have an army, but he created a naval arm to 
defend commerce and protect coastal cities. 

It must be stated that, unfortunately for the Italian people, the 
"democracy" lasted only as long as did Frederick II. On the occa- 
sion of his death, the stronger cities withdrew and opened that 
sanguine inter-city struggle which split the country into a half-dozen 
city republics. 

The history of the nationalistic growth in England takes us back 
into the ninth century when Alfred forced the invading Danes to 
the Peace of Wedmore. In the next century, after various struggles, 
the Britons, Danes, and English held a national "election" and 
placed Eadred on the throne, the first national coronation (946). 
The basis of union was not strong enough to ride over sectional 
feuds. It was during this period that the feudal system came to see 
the degeneration of the freemen into vassals and serfs. Around the 
turn of the eleventh century the Danes again descended upon the 
weakened island forces and drove the king into Normandy. It was 
the Danish rule which forged the English nation, for the provincial 
differences were crushed, the lords were pushed Into the middle class, 
and the serfs were elevated almost to complete freedom. Under the 
peaceful rule of Knut, commerce and trade expanded and the mer- 
chant class developed, together with free boroughs and villages. 

In 1042 Godwine abandoned the Danish policy and recalled 
Edward the Confessor to the throne, although he remained as the 
directing influence until exiled in 1051. Harold, Godwine's son, be- 


came the actual governor in 1053. His reign was cut short by the 
arrival of the Normans and the Norman Conqueror in 1066. By 
1071 WiUiam ruled by right of conquest the entire English people. 
Because of the struggle, feudalism was now more organized than on 
the continent. WiUiam changed that, however, when the peace had 
been restored and maintained by an efficient army. He demanded 
that all the subjects take the oath directly to himself, thus eliminat- 
ing the support which the lords could normally have commanded to 
attack him. 

Henry 1(1 100-1 135 ) hastened the growth of free cities by grant- 
ing charters to large and prosperous boroughs and villages, by which 
means they became largely self governing. Henry II made efforts 
to unify the nation, and in doing that he found it necessary to restrict 
the judicial powers of the clergy and the lords. He made his inten- 
tion known with regards to the clergy in the Constitutions of Clar- 
endon in 1164. Henry II also saw the inadequacy of the feudal 
army, and so he had the service commuted in the form of money and 
he hired mercenaries. This deprived the lords of any real power in 
the kingdom. The dishonest and fickle John had a deal of trouble 
with his people. Conditions were so bad that the barons, under the 
influence of Stephen Langton of Canterbury, assembled and de- 
manded justice at Runnymede in 1215. King John signed the Magna 
Carta, but Innocent III absolved him from his oath. 

Edward I called a model Parliament in 1295, the representatives 
for which were chosen from among the knights, the burgesses and 
from the cathedral chapters and the common clergy. This parlia- 
ment was important as the initial form of the House of Commons. 

The Hundred Years' War with France (1336-1431) did much 
to consolidate the national feeling of England. In 1376 Parliament 
demanded an account of the expenditures of royal revenues. That 
body felt that in subsequent years all matters of concern to the nation 
should be referred to itself rather than to the sole judgment of the 
King. As early as 1341 the two bodies of Parliament were sepa- 
rated, the knights being placed in the House of Commons with the 
burgesses and commoners. 

The effect of the Black Plague tended to elevate the serfs into 
free laborers. Under Wat Tyler, and possibly influenced by Wyclif's 
teachings, the Peasant Revolt sought to resist the efforts of the lords 
to hold down the common people to the soil. 


We should not fail to notice the effect of the legalization of the 
English language in 1362. This act produced a nationalistic feeling 
which had never existed before. 

The development of modern France began in much the same man- 
ner as in Italy and England. It was in that area that feudalism and 
chivalry found its highest expression so we are already familiar with 
the early pattern of the history. The first of the Capets were not 
outstanding. Our crystallization of nationalism begins properly 
with Philip Augustus (1180-1223). The key to the monarchical 
growth is found in the interdependence of the king and the feudal 
helrarchy. It was not by opposing feudalism outright, but by recog- 
nizing, controlling and replacing the rights that Philip started the 
expansion of the royalty. 

The first move was the appointment of royal officials to represent 
the king primarily in the king's private domain. But a secondary 
function of these officers was to spread, where possible, into the 
feudal territory. Frequently these men were trained lawyers, and 
therefore were able to handle cases which the clergy and lords could 
not. By legal fiction the jurisdiction of the royal house was ever 

Feudal rights were further encroached upon as Louis IX pro- 
hibited private warfare (1257) and the wager of battle as court 
proof of right or innocence. Both of these were essential to medieval 
practice. Now, justice came less to depend upon war prowess, and 
more upon the Throne or State. This is the very essence of the mod- 
ern position. 

The expansion of the royal lands was carried out according to 
the feudal code. The Crown received lands by reversion on the 
death of an heirless vassal, by failure of allegiance, and by claiming 
all open fiefs. The only difference between this and the action of any 
other lord was that the "king" never died and hence the land only 
accumulated. With regards to land, Louis IX came to blows with 
the clergy; as landholders he proposed to rule and tax them, in spite 
of the fact that as a religion he respected the church. Another for- 
ward step in the amalgamation was the striking of royal money in 
1263 which was to be legal tender in all of the country of France. 
This coinage gradually replaced the eighty local feudal issues. 

It was Philip IV who was nationalistic enough to quarrel with the 
Pope. Boniface VIII made attempts to intervene in a French-Eng- 


lish struggle, and for this interference, Philip levied a tax on the 
clergy for war expenses. It was evident from the first that the papacy 
was in a losing struggle, for even the French clergy sided with Philip 
(beginnings of a national clergy). One development of the quarrel 
was the calling together of the first Estates General to consent to his 
royal policy. This aided materially in consolidating the people be- 
hind the royalty. As they became royalty conscious, they also became 
aware of themselves as a great nation, a people with a common 
language, tradition, and heritage. After the subjugation of Boniface 
VIII, Philip practically controlled the papacy. Under Clement V, 
who moved the Papal residence to France, Philip caused the trial of 
Boniface, the destruction of the Templars, and made a bid for the 
Imperial throne for his brother. The degree to which the French 
people had become a nationalistic unit is further attested by the 
seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity. 

The history of the nationalistic development in France, as in Italy 
and England, has made clear the general trends which all the states 
have followed in their formation as national units. 

Theocratic Aids to Nationalistic Development 

The ultimate goal of the medieval papacy was obvious; as repre- 
sentatives of Christ, the great duty was to set up the kingdom of 
God here on earth by such means as that end required. Christ had 
not foreseen (?) the necessity of using police force to maintain order 
in the absence of government, and to protect Church property. 

To the characteristic medieval man the height of virtue was found 
in the one who gave up his worldly possessions (most frequently to 
the Church) and retired to the monastery for a closer walk with 
God. However, the Church polity in the long run did not lead to 
such life. Insofar as it encouraged thrift, frugality, and industry it 
encouraged a state of mind in danger of becoming engrossed with 
worldly matters. We have witnessed the influence of trade in this 
direction. Under the warm radiance of material abundance the 
austere semi-ascetic medieval piety relaxed. 

We have also noted the manner in which the cathedral schools 
fostered questioning and groping minds, and gave rise to universities 
and to Scholasticism. Although these advances were ostensibly for 


support of the Church, yet their more ultimate service was to pave 
the way for greater intellectual freedom. The very tenacity with 
which the papacy insisted on adherence to the old theories insured a 
break in thought, for all of men's minds cannot be confined and con- 
trolled forever. In making the break, almost by necessity the leaders 
must take an exaggerated stand and therefore, as against the theo- 
cratic universalism, the reformers championed nationalistic individ- 

As we briefly examine the great papal-fostered movement of the 
time we shall discover other qualities inherent in the theocracy which 
led to the rise of nationalism. 

Among all the mass military movements of recorded history few 
have been as significant as the Crusades. During the two centuries 
millions of men caught the Crusader spirit and marched off to fight 
for the Holy Land, and those millions, save a few hundred thou- 
sands, failed to return to Europe. In looking over the causes of the 
Crusades we find: the zeal of the popes to extend the faith; the in- 
tense, degenerate, fanatic religious enthusiasm; the hope of securing 
spiritual benefits by such effort and death, and possibly from the 
conversion of a few non-Christian pagans. Not all aims could be as 
high as these. The mercenary hopes of the merchant-industry group 
led them to participate chiefly for solid monetary rewards. Certain 
kings might have desired rich provinces of the East. Possibly the 
Pope wouldn't have objected to the subjugation of the Eastern 
Church. Hundreds of thousands of rascals, criminals, and prisoners 
had thereby a chance to make a name and a stake in life — and escape 
a living death in prison. 

Measured in terms of the stated objectives the Crusades were a 
complete failure. The effects, however, upon the European world 
can scarcely be appreciated. Although we have pointed out the lines 
of influence on the rise of trade, travel, and the habits of Europe, 
we will endeavor to summarize the effects upon the intellectual life, 
the papacy, the feudal order, and thereby to indicate the effect upon 
the rise of nationalism. 

The awakening trade brought Europeans into contact with other 
peoples, and for the first time in centuries they received ideas of a 
different culture. This and the travel involved transferred the inter- 
est out of themselves into new things of the world. It was nothing 
short of miraculous ; the Incurious had become acutely curious. 


The immediate effect of the Crusades upon the papacy was to in- 
crease its power. The Latin Church for the time was extended to 
Palestine and Constantinople, and the Pope became the unquestioned 
head of all Christendom. By means of the Crusades Innocent III was 
able to achieve that which Gregory VII had established as an ideal. 
Through the "longest, bloodiest, and most destructive religious war 
in all history" the Pope made himself the "dictator of Emperors, 
Kings, and nobles." The influx of wealth to the Church was no less 
proportionate. The Crusades developed the practice of the sale of 
indulgences, and the huge traffic in relics and martyr worship. 

But the wealth, power, and the effect of vice on the church and the 
horrible abuses and corruption thereby fostered combined to disin- 
tegrate the whole system. The popes no longer had the pure ideals 
nor the intellectual capacities of the men who had made possible the 
power. And indeed the times had changed. But they were more 
interested in wealth and power as such. The very corruption made 
reforms unavoidable, only a matter of time. The Church was no 
longer able to command the respect of all men's souls and bodies as 
before; it now had no agent to enforce its universal command. It 
had lost its great united armies, and some even did not fear the inter- 
dict and excommunication. Thus was the growth of many lesser 
powers engendered, and the voice of the Church more and more 
confined to one area of life and not without heretical questioning 

The Crusades in reality sounded the death-toll of feudalism. We 
see how important this is when we recall the extent to which the 
Church had identified itself with the feudal order. Some of the ef- 
fects were: wholesale death of feudal lords; loss of fief lands by 
nobility to finance expeditions; a new and middle class nobility ap- 
peared and with them the free cities; the feudal subjects were severe- 
ly diminished in number and consequently demands for free laborers 
came ; the feudal armies were replaced by standing mercenary armies 
paid with tax money. All of this played into the hands of the kings. 
Heretofore they had been but puppets. By leading the Crusaders in 
person they gained tremendous popularity and influence, augmented 
by the quarrels in the field. Not only that but the kings increased 
their power by claiming, as was their feudal right, the fiefs which 
had been forfeited or defaulted by the barons and lords. Fortunate- 
ly for the kings, many of the lords who formerly opposed the growth 


of monarchical powers were killed In action. The kings early took 
advantage of the mercenary armies, for they saw the inherent weak- 
ness of the feudal weapon. This gave them fast, effective, and loyal 
soldiers, at least as long as they had their pay. Frederick II, for ex- 
ample, had an army of 20,000 Saracens to assist him In his Italian 
state adventure. The Crusades also aided the kings by forcing the 
feudal lords to organize into a more effective system. When this 
happened the king naturally assumed a more prominent role as the 
head. A remarkable feature was that private feudal wars were pro- 
hibited; justice was also taken out of the hands of the landholders 
and placed with the royal agents. 

It Is evident that the feudal order, and, to a lesser degree, the 
Church hierarchy had become but tottering shells of what they had 
been. The feudal shadow lingered on in some countries until late, 
especially in Germany. And yet again in the fifteenth century the 
Papacy was able to rally an armed crusade against the heretical 
forces of Bohemia. The banners of the Theocracy still herald the 
chief tenets of the Church of the Middle Ages. 


Summary of Findings 

The various lines of discussion which we have pursued have dem- 
onstrated that nationalism did not arise suddenly as a new and iso- 
lated phenomenon. Its rise, together with that reform which we 
know as Protestantism, was guaranteed by the inherent weakness 
and consequent corruption of the theocratic ideal as set forth by the 
Medieval Church. As a reactionary movement, we need not be sur- 
prised that nationalistic-Protestant thinking erred on the same basic 
position, only on a different side. Nor need we be surprised that the 
Medieval Church took the position that it did. Certain fundamental 
concepts which Jesus gave were not even grasped by the disciples. 
Naturally by the time of the dissolution of the Roman Empire these 
errors had been enlarged. We know how prevalent was asceticism, 
and monasticism; the thinking which promulgated them was similar 
to that of those who courted martyrdom. Perceiving that some good 
men were willing to be martyrs for their faith, they wished to be- 
come martyrs for that faith. The later people observed that some 
righteous persons were frugal, and very generous with their ma- 
terial means ; therefore they thought that by denying themselves, by 


giving away the material of the world they should attain righteous- 
ness. What really was going on was not the Christianizing of the pa- 
gans, but the Paganizing of Christianity. With this background of 
mistaken enthusiasm for works as the means for securing faith, and 
an institution that had acquired extensive gifts from would-be pious 
people, it is not strange that the bishops should take steps to protect 
that property for God and the welfare of the Saints. These steps 
involved assumption of a temporal police, judicial and administra- 
tive position in a chaotic world which had lost its governmental 
agencies for such functions. And later when governmental agencies 
had been vivified, it was only human that the popes should maintain 
that attitude toward the world; the logical end of this was the theo- 
cratic ideal of Hildebrand. But the inflexibility of the papacy in the 
face of a changed world prescribed the fall of the system; it sealed 
its own fate and in doing so cast upon the world the nationalized 
form of religion, the nationalized Christ which we know only too 
well in our own tragic days. 

Through all the meanderings of social change in history we hope 
can be found the vital strains of that Spirit which shall arise ever and 
ever again, and shall lift up the Prince of Peace before mankind, 
and shall endeavor to spread the Spiritual Kingdom in harmony 
with the spirit of Christ. 


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Coulton, G. G., Medieval Panorama, Cambridge, 1939. 

Emerton, Ephraim, The Beginnings of Modern Europe, Ginn & Co., N. Y., 1939. 

Flick, A. C, The Rise of the Medieval Church, Putnams Sons, N. Y., 1909. 

Flick, A. C, The Decline of the Medie^'al Church, Knop, N. Y., 1930. 

Green, J. R., A Short History of the English People, American Book Company, N. Y., 

Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Scribners, N. Y., 1916, vol. V, pt. I. 
Shillito, Edward, Nationalism: Man's Other Religion, Willet, Clarke & Co., Chicago, 

Symonds, John, A Short History of the Renaissance in Italy, Holt, N. Y., 1926. 
Thatcher & Schwill, Europe in the Middle Ages, Scribners, N. Y., 1896. 


The Wave o>f the Future, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Harcourt, Brace 
and Co., 383 Madison Ave., New York, N. Y. Price $1.00. 

This is a book — or more accurately a booklet — which ought to be required 
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democratic, the capitalistic world" — was doomed to pass because of its own 
inherent defects. One feels as one reads that all the statesmen and dictators 
out in front are marionettes and puppets in the swell of the on-coming wave 
of the future order. Whatever that order will be, it will correct certain de- 
fects of the social order in which we have lived. 

Mrs. Lindbergh pleads rightly that Americans ought to be able to take a 
planetary viewpoint. Those who are committed by faith in the Prince of 
Peace to peace as a way of life need in this day an intellectual apologia for 
their way of life. Here it is. 

Said a college student recently — "It is a great book. I read it one day in 
twenty minutes." But it is the kind of book one will go back to and regret it, 
if he doesn't own it. 

Finally its prose exhibits that limpid poetic quality which the other books 
of the authoress possess. For Anne Morrow Lindbergh is a poetess who 
writes in prose. This poetess has written an essay in historical interpreta- 
tion, which this student believes is true. 

Meet Henry Kurts, H. A. Brandt. Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, 
Illinois. Price $1.00. 

There was just one man who ought to have written this book and that was 
the author of "Christopher Sower and Son." 

This year ( 1941 ) is the Ninetieth Anniversary of the re-introduction of 
the printing press into the Brethren's usage. It was most fitting that this 
biographer of the pioneer printer, publisher, and editor should appear this 

The book is written in a manner that compels the reader's attention. By 
a legitimate use of imagination the author has so united documentary facts 
that the book reads as interestingly as any novel. 

Little-known facts concerning Kurtz are given proper publicity. For 
instance, his fondness for and ownership of a pipe-organ needs to be re- 



membered in evaluating the Western influence on Brethren church life. 

One secures an appreciation of Brethren periodicals' development through 
reading this book. 

An unintended effect of the book is to give one a rather accurate vignette 
of nineteenth century American life. 

The Story of Our Church, by J. E. Miller. Brethren Publishing House, 
Elgin, lUinois. Price $1.25. 

This is the first general history of the church which has been written 
since 1919. It was time for a fresh retelling of the saga of Brotherhood 
which began at Schwarzenau. 

The author is eminently qualified to write the story. Whatever virtue 
we should expect in such a history written by J. E. Miller we should expect 
it to be interesting. It is. 

This history is written particularly for young people. We believe it will 
be of genuine value to the many (we hope very many) young people who 
read it. 

A book that will hold the attention of young men and women will also 
instruct their elders. 

The fourteen chapters are all interesting, but the last chapter, "Our 
Heritage," stands out as one of the best chapters in Brethren literature. 

Misunderstood Subjects, by William Kinsey. The Elgin Press, Elgin, 
Illinois, 1941. Price $1.00. 

This is a book which will be read after many a volume more widely ad- 
vertised has passed into the limbo of the pulp mill. 

This neat little volume of 128 pages represents the practical reflections 
of a genuine Bible student upon a number of common subjects. 

It is the virtue of the book that the "misunderstood subjects" selected are 
those of enduring interest and recurring discussion. 

Who is not interested in "The Signs of the Times" ? In "Disturbing the 
Peace"? In "The Making of Peace"? "The Jews and the New Covenant"? 
In "The Second Coming of Christ"? (This chapter alone is worth more 
than the price of the book). Who hasn't pondered "The Blood In Our 
Salvation"? Then the seventh and last chapter is devoted to "Rules for 
Studying the Bible", 

When this reviewer was a boy there came into his hands a small volume 
by a veteran English minister. It was the summary of his Biblical study and 
reflection upon a number of themes of interest to religious people. That 
volume helped form my mind, 

I predict a similar mission for this book in days to come to some of its 
thoughtful readers, 

A minister reading the book will certainly get some sermon ideas. 
In appearance and content the book is suitable as a gift volume. 
The book is spiced by the author's ventures into poetic composition. 


Memories of Manchester, by Otho Winger. The Elgin Press, Elgin, 
Illinois. Price $2.00. 

The University made its appearance in Europe with the first evidences of 
the shift from feudal to commercial-capitalistic civilization. The Univer- 
sity has from the first been the keystone of the cultural arch of the Western 

In the United States, the liberal arts college has been the prevailing ver- 
sion of the university idea. Our civilization has literally depended upon its 
liberal arts colleges. Insofar as these institutions have been under Christian 
control, they have impressed a Christian quality upon our Western culture. 

The efifective administrators and teachers of these Christian colleges have 
been the spiritual Fathers of the West. 

Here we have the admirably written reminiscences of one of the eminent 
modern Fathers of the West. To serve as college president thirty years is a 
record seldom equaled. When that term lifts an obscure school of uncer- 
tain existence into the degree of influence in its denomination, its state, the 
Middle West, that Manchester College has achieved — ^the enduring fame 
of its president is secure. 

Reminiscences accurately written are one of the most valuable forms of 
history. These reminiscences are in the best style of President Winger. 
He is the most widely-read living writer of the Church of the Brethren. 

For all Manchester students there is pride, thrill, school-patriotism, 
laughter, and touch of tears in this book. 

To all other than Manchester students, the story has a representative 
value. Manchester has stood as an exponent of a Christian democratic view 
of life. The life of the institution and the character of its teachers exemplify 
this faith. To those who have received this training has been entrusted the 
future of this view of life and education. 

This book is not mere "sweetness and light." It has sentences that have 
the vigor of its author. It has views expressed that ought to evoke discus- 

I The book is excellently illustrated. Its amount of material astounds one. 
Its last chapter is in brief form a number of President Winger's Chapel 
speeches which create in some of us a nostalgic yearning for the old days, 

F. E. M. 

1940- 1941 



Ankrum, Freeman. Alexander Mack, the Tunker, and Some of His Descendants. 3 

Beery, William. Brethren Hymnody in the Nineteenth Century. 87 

Frantz, Michael. Writings of Michael Frantz (Translation). 78 

Helms, Claxton. Description of the Brethren's Almanac of 1874. 183 
Holderreed, Andrew H. The Beginnings of Modern Nationalism : 

Seedbed of the Reformation. 185 

Long, John D. The Agape or Love-feast. 156 

Mallott, F. E. Book Review : Christian Education and the Alcohol Problem. 71 

Book Review : Meet Henry Kurtz. 201 

Book Review : Memories of Manchester. 203 

Book Review : Misunderstood Subjects. 202 

Book Review : The Story of Our Church. 202 

Book Review : The Wave of the Future. 201 

Glimpses from Early Church Records. 24 

A Peculiar People. 75 

Miller, Elvert. The Attitude of the Early Christians Toward War. 16 

Moore, Trevor Wyatt. A Question (Poem). 29 

Replogle, Jacob F. The Doctrinal Beliefs of the Waldenses. 166 

Roller, John Michael. We Wait the Dawn of Peace (Poem). 15 

Sherfy, Robert L. An Analysis of Democratic Procedures in the 

Church of the Brethren. 29 

Strickler, Robert L. Preparing for Church Membership. 91 
Zunkle, Charles E. Some Unwritten History of Northeastern District of Ohio. 83 


Agape or Love-feast, The. John D. Long. 156 
Alexander Mack, the Tunker, and Some of His Descendants. Freeman Ankrum. 3 
An Analysis of Some Democratic Procedures in the Church of the 

Brethren. Robert L. Sherfy. 29 

Announcement. 82 

As Others Tell It. 86 

Attitudes of the Early Christians Toward War, The. Elvert Miller. 16 
Beginnings of Modern Nationalism : Seedbed of the Protestant 

Reformation. Andrew H. Holderreed. 185 
Book Reviews : 

Christian Education and the Alcohol Problem. 71 

Meet Henry Kurtz. 201 

Memories of Manchester. 203 

Misunderstood Subjects. 202 

The Story of Our Church. 202 

The Wave of the Future. 201 

Brethren Hymnody in the Nineteenth Century. William Beery. 87 

Description of the Brethren's Almanac of 1874. Claxton Helms. 183 

Doctrinal Beliefs of the Waldenses, The. Jacob F. Replogle. 166 

Glimpses from Early Church Records. F. E. Mallott. 24 

Historical Society Notes. 70 

Index to Volume II. 204 

Peculiar People, A. F. E. Mallott. 75 

Preparing for Church Membership. Robert L. Strickler. 97 

Question, A (Poem). Trevor Wyatt Moore. 29 

Some Unwritten History of Northeastern District of Ohio. Charles E. Zunkle. 83 

We Wait the Dawn of Peace (Poem). John Michael Roller. 15 

Writings of Michael Frantz (Translation). 78